2014 WGC-Match Play bracket almost set with no Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or Adam Scott

Stuart Franklin

The field and bracket are nearly set, but one of the most unique PGA Tour events that is typically loaded with superstars lost momentum in 2014. Some reasons why Tiger, Phil, and Adam are passing on the WGC Match Play.

The first WGC event of the year, a 64-man match-play bracket challenge, is the most unorthodox tournament of the PGA Tour season. WGC events always feature a bit of a closed and exclusive group, but the Accenture Match Play title typically draws almost every single one of the top 64 players in the world, as set by the Official World Golf Rankings.

Just not this year.

The 2014 WGC-Match Play lost a lot of momentum when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott all confirmed that they would not make the trip to Tucson for the big money, and big points event. It's a pretty rare and bold move to leave those opportunities on the table, but those three have made enough money and are secure enough in the world rankings that they can pass.

Woods was originally planning to go to Russia to watch girlfriend Lindsey Vonn ski in the Olympics, but when she had to pull out, he still decided to pass on Dove Mountain. Mickelson is the one player who has repeatedly skipped this event in recent years, opting to wind down after his usual busy schedule during the west coast swing. Scott's schedule was loaded up when most players were resting or appearing at silly season events at the end of 2013. The defending Masters champ played the Grand Slam of Golf, the two-man World Cup with Jason Day, and then the Aussie triple crown (and nearly won all three). When the start of the 2014 season rolled around, Scott said he would play the two opening stops in Hawaii and then take more than a month off before popping back up in Florida.

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Aside from the schedule issues that Woods, Mickelson, and Scott cite, there's also the venue. The Golf Club at Dove Mountain is annually rated by the pros as one of their least favorite courses on the PGA Tour. Those feelings of enmity were turned up last year when sideways blizzard snow and freezing rain blasted the Tucson course, causing delays and generally unpleasant golf conditions. Tiger, who has won the WGC Match Play three times but never at this course, had also played poorly in recent showings at this tourney. The event had run its course at Dove Mountain, and this is almost certainly the last year it will host. There's speculation that the public Harding Park in San Francisco, which successfully hosted Presidents Cup matches in 2009, may be the next venue, and that would likely entice Woods to sign back up for this lucrative event.

So there's no Woods, Mickelson, or Scott, but fortunately for tournament organizers and the Tour, no one else has said they will pass. For awhile there at the start of the year, there was concern that maybe half of the top 10 would not show up. The qualifying portion for the tournament closed last Sunday, with only George Coetzee sneaking into the field via his win in South Africa. But a player on the outside could still technically jump in if another big name announces they're passing on next week. Players have until 5 p.m. on Friday to commit or withdraw, and it's unlikely we get any surprises. While the top 64 field is set based on last Monday's world rankings, the seedings will be shuffled in accordance with the next rankings release following this weekend's worldwide tournaments.

We will have an updated bracket with those new seeds, individual bracket previews, picks, and predictions early next week but here's the current field of top 64 players as that 5 p.m. deadline approaches:

World Ranking (as of Feb. 10) Player Country
1 Tiger Woods USA
2 Adam Scott Australia
3 Henrik Stenson Sweden
4 Phil Mickelson USA
5 Justin Rose England
6 Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland
7 Zach Johnson USA
8 Sergio Garcia Spain
9 Matt Kuchar USA
10 Jason Day Australia
11 Dustin Johnson USA
12 Steve Stricker USA
13 Jordan Spieth USA
14 Ian Poulter England
15 Graeme McDowell Northern Ireland
16 Jason Dufner USA
17 Brandt Snedeker USA
18 Charl Schwartzel South Africa
19 Webb Simpson USA
20 Luke Donald England
21 Hideki Matsuyama Japan
22 Jim Furyk USA
23 Keegan Bradley USA
24 Jimmy Walker USA
25 Thomas Bjorn Denmark
26 Bubba Watson USA
27 Graham Delaet Canada
28 Jamie Donaldson Wales
29 Victor Dubuisson France
30 Ryan Moore USA
31 Hunter Mahan USA
32 Bill Haas USA
33 Lee Westwood England
34 Louis Oosthuizen South Africa
35 Ernie Els South Africa
36 Nick Watney USA
37 Stephen Gallacher Scotland
38 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano Spain
39 Miguel Angel Jimenez Spain
40 Kevin Streelman USA
41 Joost Luiten Netherlands
42 Billy Horschel USA
43 Harris English USA
44 Patrick Reed USA
45 Francesco Molinari Italy
46 Jonas Blixt Sweden
47 Branden Grace South Africa
48 Martin Kaymer Germany
49 Chris Kirk USA
50 Matteo Manassero Italy
51 Thongchai Jaidee Thailand
52 David Lynn England
53 Rickie Fowler USA
54 Scott Stallings USA
55 Mikko Ilonen Finland
56 Gary Woodland USA
57 Pablo Larrazabal Spain
58 Kevin Stadler USA
59 George Coetzee South Africa
60 Thorbjorn Olesen Denmark
61 Peter Hanson Sweden
62 Bernd Wiesberger Austria
63 Marc Leishman Australia
64 Boo Weekley USA
65 Richard Sterne (takes Tiger's spot) South Africa
66 Scott Piercy (takes Scott's spot) USA
67 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (takes Phil's spot) Thailand

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