When we play golf, 99% of the time we play match play with our fellow competitors. We play it so often that we forget that the format adds such a great element to a game built so much on the individual vs. “The Course”.

Although the ultimate goal is always go out and shoot our all time best score, how often does that thought actually enter your mind while warming up? Or even standing on the first tee? If you get off to a hot start and shoot a great front nine score you may begin to think about it, but most of the time you’re thinking about beating your buddies and earning a couple bucks in style.

The Ryder Cup is arguably one of the greatest golf events for spectators for good reason. Every point means so much that every match becomes essential, therefore making every hole that much more important. Which in turn makes every shot more pressure packed.

Along with the increased significance of shots compared to a 72 hole tournament, you have the great face to face interaction between competitors in a win or go home situation that rarely ever comes about in a regular stroke play event. Whether it’s Jack Nicklaus conceding a missable putt to Tony Jacklin to tie the 1969 Ryder Cup

or Seve Ballesteros bringing the intensity and win at all costs attitude of a swashbuckling matador. Match play will bring out the best in a golfer.

Even though there is no team element at the World Matchplay, the drama will always be there. It shows up where you would expect it, like Tiger Woods reminding Steven Ames what happens if you comment on his lack of driving accuracy at La Costa in 2006. The 9 and 8 obliteration remains the largest margin of victory. Or it can show up in the unlikely quiet form of Victor Dubuisson pulling off magical shots from cactus in the Arizona desert that would have Seve himself in disbelief.

It’s a little sad we only get to see the worlds best play match play only one or two times a year, but on those occasions we almost always get more memorable moments and drama. There is no doubt that match play is a format that almost never fails to produce great golf and this year at Harding Park in San Francisco should be no different.