Manchester: This weekend witnessed what is surely the single most aggressive, extravagant — and successful — marketing event in the consulting year, the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Fifteen years ago, I listened with sympathy to the bewilderment of one non-golf playing Andersen Consulting partner, as he described the scene when this sponsorship was unveiled for the first time at the firm's annual junket — grown men standing on their chairs, punching the air, whooping and hollering.
Well, little did he know. The Accenture tournament is now one of golf's biggest stages — putting the Accenture name on television in 224 countries.
64 elite players competed at the 14th World Golf Championships (WGC)-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain course.
The winner took home US$1.4 million of a total prize purse of US$8.5 million, as well as the sought-after Walter Hagen Cup, named after golf's greatest match-play competitor.
For the first time, spectators this year could take part in a new match-play experience called "Follow the Leaders" — if ever there was a marketing tag-line in waiting this is one — and follow the final pair down each fairway.
William D. Green, executive chairman of Accenture, speaking before the tournament said, "As always, this year's Accenture Match Play Championship will give golf fans everywhere an opportunity to see many of the world's top golfers focusing on raising their game and taking it to the next level of excellence.
"We believe there is great synergy between the tournament and the mission of Accenture, which is to help our clients also achieve high performance."
The Accenture Match Play Championship is now the cornerstone event of the World Golf Championships.
For the record, Hunter Mahan of the USA beat Ulster's Rory McIlroy, the US Open champion, 2 and 1 in the final.