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Rose joins Stenson in skipping WGC Match Play

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The field for the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship has suffered another defection.

Making what he termed a "very difficult decision," Justin Rose has joined his friend and future Zurich Classic partner Henrik Stenson on the sidelines for the season's third WGC event.

"I had to look at what I felt was maybe the best preparation for me to do well at Augusta, and that was 72-hole stroke play. Guaranteeing that type of golf," Rose told Golf World. "Match play is a fun format, but it's unpredictable."

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Stenson is skipping the event for the third straight year, as he is not a fan of the round-robin format the PGA Tour introduced in 2015. Rose will instead play the Shell Houston Open the week prior to the Masters, further bolstering a field that already includes Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson.

This week represents the last chance to crack the top 64 in the OWGR to qualify for the March 22-26 event at Austin Country Club, but now the bubble will extend to at least No. 66 and perhaps even further. According to an AP report, Adam Scott is also expected to skip the tournament and Rickie Fowler remains on the fence.