Shane Lowry looks more likely to face world No 2 Tiger Woods than No 1 Rory McIlroy following Brandt Snedeker’s withdrawal from next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play with a rib injury. But that might change.
The Clara native scraped into the 64-man field on Sunday night when he finished 65th in the world rankings and world No 10 Phil Mickelson indicated he’d be skipping the event for family reasons.
That set up a potential meeting between world No 1 McIlroy and last-man-in Lowry. But with Fredrik Jacobson now getting into the field in Tucson thanks to Snedeker’s withdrawal citing “sore ribs”, the Swede is now on course to meet McIlroy in an event that pits the world No 1 against the 64th qualifier, the No 2 against the 63rd and so on.
The seeds for the tournament - the draw, in other words - will not be determined until Sunday night when the new world rankings are established. If anyone withdraws after the brackets are announced, he will take the seed of whoever he replaces.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger is now the first alternate with Denmark’s Anders Hansen and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson next in line, in the event of further withdrawals.
McIlroy will remain as the No 1 seed but others are likely to change position with the likes of Woods, Pádraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Jacobson all taking part in this week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
In theory, Lowry could be overtaken by Jacobson and end up playing McIlroy after all.
The withdrawal of last year’s FedEx Cup champion Snedeker was not a major surprise. He had complained of rib trouble earlier in the week but went on to win in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday.
The new world number four, who has played five of the first six weeks on the PGA Tour schedule, first started feeling soreness in his left rib cage at the Humana Challenge four weeks ago.
According to a statement from his management company, he felt fine during both the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open, finishing second at both events, but the soreness reoccurred last Thursday.
Snedeker said: “I certainly will miss competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship, and I really do appreciate what Accenture does to make that one of the premier events on our schedule.”
The 2012 FedExCup champion is currently on holiday with his family in Hawaii and is not expected to return until next month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
According to a report from AP’s Doug Ferguson in Los Angeles, Jacobson had planned to travel to Dove Mountain as first alternate anyway.
“I’m really happy to be part of it now and get a chance to play a little more golf that week,” he said. “You never know how much golf you get to play, but I know I’m going to get there and play some golf.”
The Snedeker withdrawal also cancels the potential all-Ireland clash between Harrington and McDowell, who are now on course to meet Nick Watney and Alex Noren respectively.
Possible draw in the unlikely event that there are no more withdrawals or changes of position from Sunday night’s world rankings:
1 Rory McIlroy (NIre) v 66 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe)
2 Tiger Woods (US) v 65 Shane Lowry (Ire)
3 Luke Donald (Eng) v 64 Charles Howell III (US)
5 Justin Rose (Eng) v 63 Marcel Siem (Ger)
6 Louis Oosthuizen (SAf) v 62 K.J. Choi South Korea
7 Adam Scott (Aus) v 61 Richie Ramsay (Sco)
8 Lee Westwood (Eng) v 60 Chris Wood (Eng)
9 Bubba Watson (US) v 59 Tim Clark (SAf)
11 Ian Poulter (Eng) v 58 Rafael Cabrera Bello (Esp)
12 Jason Dufner (US) v 57 Stephen Gallacher (Sco)
13 Steve Stricker (US) v 56 Russell Henley (US)
14 Sergio Garcia (Esp) v 55 Richard Sterne (SAf)
15 Keegan Bradley (US) v 54 Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
16 Charl Schwartzel (SAf) v 53 Marcus Fraser (Aus)
17 Dustin Johnson (US) v 52 Henrik Stenson (Swe)
17 Webb Simpson (US) v 51 David Lynn (Eng)
19 Graeme McDowell (NIre) v 50 Alexander Noren (Swe)
20 Peter Hanson (Swe) v 49 Thomas Bjorn (Den)
21 Nick Watney (US) v 48 Padraig Harrington (Ire)
22 Matt Kuchar (US) v 47 David Toms (US)
23 Bo Van Pelt (US) v 46 Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn)
24 Ernie Els (SAf) v 45 John Senden (Aus)
25 Zach Johnson (US) v 44 Matteo Manassero (Ita)
26 Hunter Mahan (US) v 43 Jason Day (Aus)
27 Martin Kaymer (Ger) v 42 Ryan Moore (US)
28 Jim Furyk (US) v 42 41 George Coetzee (SAf)
29 Branden Grace (SAf) v 40 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den)
30 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) v 39 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)
31 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) v 38 Robert Garrigus (US)
32 Paul Lawrie (Sco) v 37 Scott Piercy (US)
33 Rickie Fowler (US) v 36 Bill Haas (US)
34 Carl Pettersson (Swe) v 35 Francesco Molinari (Ita)
67 Bernd Wiesberger Austria
68 Miguel A. Jimenez (Esp) injured and unavailable
69 Anders Hansen (Den)
70 Scott Jamieson (Sco)