The top seeds will go to Henrik Stenson (no. 3), Justin Rose (no. 5), Rory McIlroy (no. 6) and Zach Johnson (no. 7). Matt Kuchar, the world no. 9, will also try to defend his title.
The 2014 brackets and tee times will be revealed on Sunday evening, with the seeding based on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) released following the conclusion of this week’s Northern Trust Open.
Woods, Scott and Mickelson, who again aren’t in the field, were replaced by South Africa’s Richard Sterne (no. 65), American Scott Piercy (no. 66) and 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (no. 67).
Semi-retired, world no. 12 Steve Stricker is unsure if he’s playing yet, due to a critical family medical situation. Stricker’s brother, Scott, is in need of a liver transplant in Wisconsin and has been in the ICU for the last three weeks.
In the case a player pulls out from the Match Play before the brackets are released on Sunday night, the next player in the OWGR earns a spot into the field and the brackets are re-ordered. However, if a player withdraws after the brackets are released, the next player on the alternate list takes his exact spot.
The The next three players in the Official World Golf Ranking (as of February 10) are: Brooks Koepka (No. 68; USA); Brendon de Jonge (No. 69, Zimbabwe); and Peter Uihlein (No. 70, USA).
A total of 37 international players are among the field of 64, representing 18 countries. South Africa leads the way with six players. England and Spain follow with five and four players, respectively. Next are Sweden (3), Australia (2), Denmark (2), Italy (2), Northern Ireland (2), Thailand (2), Austria (1), Canada (1), Finland (1), France (1), Germany (1), Japan (1), the Netherlands (1), Scotland (1), Wales (1).
The Match Play returns to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona, but this is the last year of the contract for the venue — which, as I’ve mentioned, isn’t a favorite amongst players. The chatter is that the event will likely move venues, but no word yet as to where that will be. I’d like to see it go to Florida.
Don’t forget the 32 first round matches begin Wednesday, February 19th.
Here’s the field as of 5 p.m. ET, 2/14/2014:
Jimenez, Miguel A.
*Other random notes…
- Matt Kuchar is looking look to become just the second player to claim back-to-back Accenture Match Play Championship titles (Tiger Woods, 2003-2004).
- Tiger Woods (No. 1), Adam Scott (No. 2) and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) are not in the Accenture Match Play Championship field and are replaced South Africa’s Richard Sterne (No. 65), American Scott Piercy (No. 66) and 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (No. 67).
- 18 tournament winners from the 2013-14 season on both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour are in the field. The PGA TOUR winners are: Jimmy Walker (Frys.com Open, Sony Open in Hawaii, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am); Webb Simpson (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open); Ryan Moore (CIMB Classic); Dustin Johnson (World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions); Chris Kirk (The McGladrey Classic); Harris English (OHL Classic at Mayakoba); Zach Johnson (Hyundai Tournament of Champions); Patrick Reed (Humana Challenge in Partnership with the Clinton Foundation); Scott Stallings (Farmers Insurance Open); Kevin Stadler (Waste Management Poenix Open). The European Tour winners are: Charl Schwartzel (Alfred Dunhill Championship); Thomas Bjorn (Nedbank Golf Challenge); Miguel A. Jimenez (Hong Kong Open); Louis Oosthuizen (Volva Golf Championships);Pablo Larrazabal (Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship); Sergio Garcia (Commercial Bank Qatar Masters); Stephen Gallacher (Omega Dubai Desert Classic); George Coetzee (Joburg Open).
- Defending champion Matt Kuchar is one of six past champions of the Accenture Match Play Championship in the field.
– Matt Kuchar (2013)
– Hunter Mahan (2012)
– Luke Donald (2011)
- There are 20 players making their first-career Accenture Match Play Championship start. They are Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jonas Blixt, Graham DeLaet, Victor Dubuisson, Brendon de Jonge, Harris English, Billy Horschel, Mikko Ilonen, Chris Kirk, Pablo Larrazabal, Marc Leishman, Joost Luiten, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Stadler, Scott Stallings, Kevin Streelman, Jimmy Walker, Bernd Wiesberger.
- Of that list, Patrick Reed, Victor Dubuisson and Brendon de Jonge are making their World Golf Championships debut.
- The No. 64 seed has defeated the No. 1 overall seed four times in the 14-year history of the Accenture Match Play Championship, including last year when Ireland’s Shane Lowry defeated Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy 1-up.
- Fifteen upsets (lower seed defeating higher seed) occurred in the first round last year at the Accenture Match Play Championship, matching the amount of upsets in the first round of the 2012 event. Both 2013 and 2012 were the most since the tournament’s first year in 1999 when there were 18.