WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Match Play: Trio steps in for Tiger, Scott, Mickelson; Stricker may miss

2014-02-11T00:00:00Z Match Play: Trio steps in for Tiger, Scott, Mickelson; Stricker may missBy Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play is set.

Barring any 11th-hour injuries or pullouts, 64 of the world’s 67 best golfers will be at Marana’s Dove Mountain next week for the head-to-head competition.

While seedings will change after this weekend’s tournaments, the field will not. With Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson all skipping the event, the final three spots in the field will go to South African Richard Sterne, American Scott Piercy and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

One more spot could potentially open up. American Steve Stricker, ranked No. 10 in the world, said Monday on the Golf Channel that his brother is having kidney-transplant surgery this week. Stricker, 46, said he will make a final decision on Match Play later this week. If he pulls out, his spot would go to fellow American Brooks Koepka.

South African George Coetzee was the only competitor to play his way into the field last weekend. Coetzee won the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the European Tour to move from No. 72 to No. 59 in the world rankings.

His win knocked Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge out of the field. Koepka is one spot ahead of de Jonge and would get Stricker’s spot.

Tucsonan Michael Thompson missed out on his final opportunity to move into the field at last weekend’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Thompson needed to finish in third place or higher to qualify for Match Play, but ended up tied for 19th.

Coetzee will be making his third trip to Southern Arizona for the tournament. He’s 0-2 lifetime, losing to Rory McIlroy in 2012 and Martin Kaymer last year.

Matt Kuchar is the defending champion.

Despite not playing last weekend, McIlroy moved up a spot in the rankings and further assured himself of a No. 1 seed. If the tournament were held this week, Henrik Stenson would be the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Justin Rose, McIlroy and Zach Johnson.

Of the four, only Rose is slated to play this weekend. The reigning U.S. Open champ is in the field for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The Match Play bracket will officially be released on Monday. The first round will begin two days later, Feb. 19.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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