Match-play specialist Paul Casey has withdrawn from next week’s Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. The Englishman is still recovering from a dislocated shoulder he endured while snowboarding in Colorado last month, but he hopes to return for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in March.
Casey was runner-up at the Match Play event in 2009 and 2010.
The benefactor of Casey’s withdrawal? South African George Coetzee will take his spot and face defending champion and world No. 1 Luke Donald, barring any other scratches before the official draw. Coetzee is ranked No. 66 in the world.
World No. 65 Ernie Els already received the green light when Phil Mickelson confirmed he will skip the event to take a family vacation.
Els will likely face Rory McIlroy, who is currently ranked No. 3 but expected to overtake Lee Westwood at the No. 2 spot following the weekend.
The 2011 U.S. Open champion revealed on Wednesday he’s been working on changing a few “fundamentals” in his swing with longtime instructor Michael Bannon.
“Posture was one of the key things, and just a little bit of swing plane,” McIlroy told the AP. “I was setting the club a little steep on the way back, so the club was getting a little bit across the line at the top.
“So Michael and I have been working on me getting more feel, and getting the club pointed a little more left at the top so it’s on the right plane. That’s basically it…I should be well and truly ready for Augusta.”