By Joel Beall
Five of the top 64 players—Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland and Justin Rose—will not be in Austin next week for the WGC-Match Play.
The five names, while of the household variety, are not unexpected dropouts. Woods is sidelined for the foreseeable future as he recovers from a single-car crash in Los Angeles last month. Woodland registered a positive COVID-19 test earlier this week at the Honda Classic and remains in quarantine. Rose is dealing with back spasms, an issue that forced a mid-round WD at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and for him to miss the Players Championship. Scott is merely passing on the event, opting for rest in preparation for the Masters.
The only somewhat surprising decision among the group is Koepka, whose knee injury forced him out of the Players Championship. Though this non-participation might seem worrisome with Augusta National on the horizon, it’s also understandable that Koepka would skip the WGC-Match Play given the tournament’s possibility of playing seven matches in a five-day stretch.
Filling in will be Ian Poulter, Erik van Rooyen, Adam Long, J.T. Poston and Dylan Frittelli.
The field is broken down into 16 groups and will be filled out on Monday, with the draw happening at 11 a.m. ET. The top four No. 1 seeds are Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau.
The WGC-Match Play starts on Wednesday at Austin Country Club. As the event was cancelled last year, 2019 winner Kevin Kisner is the defending champ.