Nearly everybody - and Severiano Ballesteros, a five times winner, added his voice at the weekend - joined in the lament for the diminished status of the World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth.

It was notable this year, as it has been for at least five years, for the absence of the top world-ranked golfer.

Its publicists clung gamely to the fact that two United States Open champions, Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell, were in the field and it must have been to their monumental relief that on Sunday evening Campbell picked up their more than generous winner's cheque for £1 million.

One million pounds. That was the figure that was used to belabour Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the others with.

What sort of professionals were they, how well were they serving the game, if they were going to turn their noses up at money like that?

It was a disgrace, blah, blah!

To be fair, Campbell and that doughty little scrapper, Paul McGinley, put on a final that was tense and tenacious. But it lacked class. The standard of the golf, at times, was blush-making.

It was the pressure, the apologists explained. Which can be greatly magnified in matchplay.

Which by Sunday night was a theme that had me thinking along a new tack. We all assume that it is a great honour and a tremendous privilege to be play for a million pounds.

But that sort of money, while it promises to do wonders for your bank balance, magnifies the pressure in direct proportion to the sheer volume of noughts.

It's only a thought but perhaps some of the stars are staying away (not Woods, of course; this would only be loose change to him) because of the £1 million.

Perhaps it's too demanding a sum to be playing for. It can wreck your game. Ask Paul McGinley.