Tiger Woods has joined the list of top golfers to criticise the decision to stage all the World Golf Championship events in America.
They will take place solely in the United States for at least three years from 2007 to tie in with US PGA Tour scheduling and fit the needs of their American-based sponsors.
The European Tour have expressed their dissatisfaction at the decision, but their offer of hosting an event was rejected by the US PGA Tour.
The concept of so-called ‘world’ events being held in one country jars with Woods, who is in Dubai for a third shot at the Desert Classic crown.
“I think that part of our responsibility is playing golf around the world,” said the world number one. “It’s a global sport now.
“That wasn’t the case in the past, but now there are more players around the world playing better. Look at the world rankings, the players are from every part of the globe.
“I think that’s indicative of how our game has changed and I think it’s our responsibility to play around the world and to grow the game as much as we can.”
Computer Associates and Bridgestone have signed up as new sponsors and have stated they do not want their tournaments leaving the US.
All three WGC events, which were launched in 1999, have been staged wholly in America before, but not with the longer-term agreements that are now in place.
World number five Ernie Els was equally unhappy about the move but the South African, who has won the Dubai Desert Classic three times and returns as defending champion, understood the financial reasons behind the decision.
He said: “I think it’s a bit crazy – why call it the World Golf Championships if it’s played in one country all the time?
“I thought that world championship events were to promote the game of golf around the world. But I can understand from an American point of view that the money for these events are all from American companies and I’m sure those events want it on prime-time television over there.”
American Mark O’Meara, who won in Dubai in 2004, was equally disappointed at the scheduling.
“Maybe 20 or 25 years ago Americans tended to dominate the game, but that’s not the case anymore,” said the 1998 Open champion.
“We’ve seen that in the Ryder Cup, we’ve seen that in the Presidents Cup and we’ve seen that in the international flavour on the PGA Tour, where maybe a third is international players.”