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Sad to see Match Play go? Here's a crazy idea for the Tour Championship...

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As we wave goodbye to the WGC-Dell Match Play, it’s fair to wonder when match play will ever return to the PGA Tour calendar.

Sure, the format has its drawbacks, and many Tour players have been vocal about it not being their favorite. But after this five-day, going-away party at Austin Country Club, there’s no doubt that the excitement – sans a championship-match rout by Sam Burns of Cam Young – and change of pace still satisfies the appetites of golf fans.

Which brings me to this crazy – maybe not-so-crazy – idea: The PGA Tour should add a match-play event back to the schedule for 2024, and it should be a designated event.

But not just any designated event.

Match play should decide … the Tour Championship.

Now, take a deep breath, and think about it. Let’s get rid of the polarizing staggered start, expand the field at East Lake by two players to the top 32 in the FedExCup following the BMW Championship, and have the Tour’s best go head-to-head, mano a mano, for the $18 million first-place prize.

The Final Fore? It could be electric.

Sure, critics will argue that match play, for all its fickleness, shouldn’t decide a season-long champion – or perhaps more importantly, a $75 million event. But is giving the points leader a head start, including 10 shots on the last players in the field, much better? There’s a reason some people playfully call the playoff finale the “PGA Tour’s Net Championship” and joke about the "shadow leaderboard," referring to the gross scores recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking.

The PGA Tour is sacrificing drama for confusion.

If bracket play is good enough for every other major sport’s playoffs, it should be good enough for golf's biggest tour. So what if Scottie Scheffler wins 10 times in a season and loses in his first match at East Lake? Those other sports don’t seem to care that their best teams could get bounced early.

An NFL team can go 17-0 and lose in the divisional round.

An NBA team can go 82-0 and get swept by the eighth seed.

An MLB team can go 162-0 and bow out after just three postseason games.

Novak Djokovic, while unlikely, could get upset in the first round of Wimbledon, or any of tennis' majors.

Burns digs deep for WGC-Dell Match Play win

Burns digs deep for WGC-Dell Match Play win

Just weeks ago, for the just the second time ever, one of four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Basketball Tournament lost to a 16th seed. Also, have you seen this year's Final Four teams? (Go FAU!)

And even sticking with golf, both men’s and women’s NCAA titles are ultimately decided via, you guessed it, match play. Same goes for the U.S. Amateur, the USGA's oldest championship.

People love seeing stars. But they also adore upsets, bracket busters, Cinderella stories. Match play provides all of that, and in an easily recognizable format for the average viewer. And with so much money and importance on the line, few will care if the weekend's matches don't feature Rory McIlroy or Jon Rahm.

Even the players bowing out after one round, a big critique of the old single-elimination WGC days, shouldn't care. They can start their offseasons early, and with nearly $600,000 in their pockets. (I wouldn't be opposed to a consolation ladder, either.)

Who wouldn't get excited about watching Sahith Theegala and Scott Stallings, the bottom two finishers last year at East Lake, play a match for $18 million and the FedExCup? That's way better than a potential runaway by a guy staked two shots on the field.

And then sometimes we'll get Rory vs. Scottie for all the marbles.

Maybe this golf writer has lost his, and turning the Tour Championship into a match-play event is a terrible idea.

But then again, what if it's not?