Golf

More trouble for Match Play: Tiger to skip tournament

2014-02-07T00:00:00Z More trouble for Match Play: Tiger to skip tournamentBy Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship recently rolled out a series of television commercials featuring Tiger Woods in action.

It’s time for some edits.

The world’s No. 1 golfer announced Thursday afternoon that he will skip Match Play this year.

Woods, a three-time Match Play champion, said on his website that he had planned to take the week off anyway to travel to the Winter Olympics with his girlfriend, skier Lindsey Vonn. Vonn suffered an injury in training, however, and neither will go.

“Instead, I’ll stay home and prepare for the Florida tournaments,” Woods said.

Woods says he’ll play in the Feb. 27 Honda Classic and at both Doral and Bay Hill.

It will mark just the second time since Match Play moved to Southern Arizona in 2007 that Woods will miss the tournament. His other absence came in 2010, when he was dealing with off-course issues.

Match Play executive director Gerald Goodman was surprised by Woods’ decision.

“It’s disappointing to see that we’re not going to get the No. 1 player in the world, but he’s played in just about every Match Play in Southern Arizona,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate.”

Woods’ decision to skip the event comes at a troubling time for the tournament. A recent Golfweek.com report said the event could move off Dove Mountain after this year.

Woods won the tournament in 2003, 2004 and 2008, and is 33-10 all-time at the event.

However, he’s struggled in recent years. Charles Howell III eliminated Woods 2 and 1 in the first round of last year’s event, marking the second time in three years the 14-time major champion has been knocked out in the opening round. In 2012, Woods was erased in the second round by Nick Watney.

The tournament, which begins Feb. 19 at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain, will now be without three of the world’s top four players.

Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott, ranked No. 2 in the world, announced months ago that he will skip the head-to-head tournament.

Phil Mickelson, ranked No. 4, will also miss Match Play because it’s the same week his children will be on spring break. It will be the third year in a row Mickelson has bypassed the tournament.

“Phil has made it clear that it’s a week that he stays with his family,” Goodman said. “As far as Adam Scott goes, he’s another one that has played every year. So you understand that not all the players can play every year.”

If the tournament started today, Henrik Stenson would be the top overall seed. The 37-year-old Swede was ranked No. 53 at the time of last year’s tournament.

The other No. 1 seeds would be Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy and reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.

Rose committed to the tournament this week after previously saying he was considering skipping it. McIlroy will be making his sixth straight trip to Southern Arizona.

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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