Mark McCormack, founder of IMG, dreamed up the idea of a World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth’s West Course and it would eventually run uninterrupted from 1964 to 2007. The concept was inspired and if there is truth in the maxim that you make your own luck then McCormack got the winner he deserved in the inaugural championship – Arnold Palmer, golf’s most charismatic and exciting golfer.
In fact, right from the very start the World Matchplay Championship had all the right ingredients: the finest players of the moment and an ideal venue in the West Course, with its twin par-5 finishing holes tailor-made for drama. There have been epic encounters, dramatic comebacks, great rivalries and a roll call of champions including Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Faldo, Ballesteros, Norman, Lyle, Langer, Woosnam and Els. No wonder it was one of the most popular stops on the golfing calendar – for players, media, fans and officials alike. It is undoubtedly missed, but Wentworth Club and the game of golf were enriched by its glorious 44-year run.