The qualification process may be over, but the field for next week's Accenture Match Play Championship won’t be completed until Friday, when players have to officially commit for the first World Golf Championships event of 2014.
Already, three of the top four players in the world – Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson – have announced that they will skip the event at Dove Mountain, which ranked 51st out of 52 courses on the PGA Tour in a Golf Digest poll of Tour favorites last year. The absentee list could continue to grow as players look toward the Florida swing and the run-up to the Masters.
Because of the three early WDs, the magic number for the event actually fell at No. 67 in the world. That means Boo Weekley (No. 64), Richard Sterne (65), Scott Piercy (66) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67) are all exempt. The top 64 available players based on the Feb. 10 world ranking are eligible for the event.
Just outside the cut line is Brooks Koepka, the former Florida State All-American who has been toiling on the European Tour. He is No. 68 and, essentially, the first alternate. Also waiting to see if players WD are No. 69 Brendon de Jonge, a 2013 International Presidents Cupper, and Peter Uihlein, the former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world who, like Koepka, has been playing overseas. Uihlein and Koepka also are roommates in South Florida.
George Coetzee, who earned his maiden victory Sunday at the European Tour's Joburg Open, jumped from No. 74 to No. 59 in the world to earn a spot in the field.
Barring any last-minute changes, Henrik Stenson would hold the No. 1 overall seed at Dove Mountain. Justin Rose would be No. 2, but his status for next week is unclear. The U.S. Open champion was forced to delay his 2014 debut because of a shoulder injury, and he is expected to tee it up this week at Riviera. If all goes well, he may decide to compete in the Match Play or instead take a one-week break and rest up for the Florida swing.
The field is subject to change when the commit list is released Friday, but here is how things stand as of Monday:
Top four seeds: Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rory Mcllroy, Zach Johnson
Last four in: Boo Weekley, Richard Sterne, Scott Piercy, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Last four out: Brooks Koepka, Brendon de Jonge, Peter Uihlein, Hyung-sung Kim