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WGC Match Play Delivered Another Blow

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According to Australian reports, David Duval has joined the list of upper-echelon players skipping the season-opening Accenture Match Play Championship, Jan. 3-7 in Melbourne, Australia.
 
Just weeks removed from announcing he would attend the $5-million World Golf Championship event, the world's No. 3-ranked player has decided to make his 2001 debut elsewhere.
 
'Apparently, (Duval) has decided not to travel,' tournament promoter Tony Roosenberg said.
 
Duval's absence means Ernie Els, No. 2 on the Official World Golf Ranking, is the only player ranked inside the top six who will make the trip to Melbourne.
 
Other absentees currently include world No. 1 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson (4), Lee Westwood (5), Colin Montgomerie (6), Jesper Parnevik (11), Nick Price (13), Sergio Garcia (16), John Huston (19), Miguel Angel Jimenez (27), Paul Azinger (30), Rocco Mediate (31), Notah Begay III (33), Jose Maria Olazabal (34) and Greg Norman (42).
 
The top 64 players on the season-ending Official World Golf Ranking are eligible for the event, which offers a $1-million first prize.
 
The first two Match Play tournaments had perfect attendance, save for Japan's Jumbo Ozaki. However, both of those were held in Carlsbad, Calif., in late February.
 
The official commitment deadline is Dec. 22.
 
Last year, Darren Clarke defeated Woods 4-and-3 in the 36-hole final.