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Stenson cites pool format for skipping WGC-Match Play

By Will GrayMarch 7, 2018, 10:12 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Henrik Stenson plans to forge a unique path to the season’s first major for the second straight year.

Stenson was a no-show last week at the WGC-Mexico Championship, one of five players ranked inside the top 13 in the world who decided against the trip to Mexico City. But Wednesday at the Valspar Championship he also confirmed plans to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play later this month, once again bypassing world ranking points and a guaranteed paycheck.

It will mark the third straight year that the Swede has skipped the PGA Tour’s only match play tournament, which largely coincides with the Tour’s decision to adopt a pool play format. Were it still a single-elimination bracket – like it was in 2007 when Stenson won his first Tour title – he’d likely still play.

“Match play, it’s kind of do or die for me,” Stenson said. “Either I’m winning and I’m staying, or I’m losing and I’m going home.”

Stenson did offer a “middle ground” option like the one used at the British Amateur, where 36 holes of stroke play determine the bracket for single-elimination match play. But given the current format structure, he won’t be making the trip to Austin.

Valspar Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Stenson hasn’t played since the Maybank Championship five weeks ago, but despite his decision to skip another WGC event, this week’s stop at Innisbrook kicks off a busy spring stretch. He’ll also play next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, with a week off followed by a trips to the Houston Open and ultimately the Masters.

It’s the same approach he used last year, when he withdrew from the WGC event in Mexico because of illness. After a T-7 finish at Valspar, Stenson missed the cut in each of the subsequent three events.

“I’ve got a big stretch ahead of me,” Stenson said. “It’s all a lead up to the Masters of course, and I’ve done some good work and I guess I’m here to get some answers this week, to see what’s working and what’s potentially not working and how to move along for the next couple of weeks.”

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Two-time major champ Pettersen pregnant

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 7:14 pm

PHOENIX – Suzann Pettersen is pregnant with her first child.

Pettersen’s husband, Christian Ringvold, confirmed the news with Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz.

Pettersen, 36, who married Ringvold in January of 2017, is due in the fall. The 15-time LPGA winner and two-time major champion has yet to make her first start this year. She’s an eight-time Solheim Cup veteran.

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Watch: Woods walks in his fourth birdie of the day

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 6:20 pm

Tiger Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Tiger to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

He quickly returned to 6 under for the championship when he hit an approach from 186 to inside 10 feet at the par-4 11th and walked in the putt:

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.