San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Golf's Match Play Championship is getting a World Cup look.
Like the soccer tournament currently playing out in Brazil, which has drawn record TV ratings in the United States, next year's event will feature group play and a knockout stage.
"It's kind of nice that we're able to talk about (the format change) in the context of everybody in the United States being riveted to that format over the last month," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem acknowledged Wednesday.
The World Golf Championships event will move to San Francisco's TPC Harding Park after an eight-year run in Arizona and will be played the week before The Players Championship.
The top 64 players in the world will be broken down into 16 groups of four instead of the former bracket-style format, when the top-ranked player would face No. 64 and so on.
The winner of each group will move into the knockout stage until there are two left standing for the final.
"It's a lot more golf," Finchem explained. "There are going to be 96 matches for fans here to go out and watch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It is a ton of golf, and one of the reasons we wanted to come here (to Harding Park), because we know the fans here will relish the opportunity to have that much golf."
Harding Park will also get its second Presidents Cup in 2025 after hosting in 2009. The municipal course will host its first PGA Championship in 2020.
Jason Day won this year's Match Play Championship in February, beating Victor Dubuisson 1-up in a 23-hole final.
The tournament's move to the week before the Players Championship will bump the event that normally occupies that spot on the schedule, the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the week after the Players.