Sergio Garcia, Europe’s only player in the world’s top 10, is set to turn down his place in the Accenture World Match Play Championship in San Diego in two weeks’ time.
The leading 64 players in the rankings next Monday qualify for the event, but Garcia, who as things stand would have been the sixth seed, has indicated to organisers he does not intend to make the trip this year.
He is the only player so far who has served notice that he will probably not be there.
In five previous appearances in the tournament the 26-year-old Spaniard has never progressed beyond the third round.
The event is the biggest of the year so far in terms of Ryder Cup points on offer, but it seems Garcia, second in the race for places, believes he is better off staying away and focusing his attentions elsewhere.
He has done a lot of travelling in 2006 already, finishing seventh in Hawaii, third in Abu Dhabi and then eighth in California before missing the halfway cut in Arizona last week.
His rejection of a place in the match play could be good news for another European Ryder Cup hopeful, however.
Up to February 20 replacements are called in for any players who withdraw. Graeme McDowell is currently 65th in the rankings, Jesper Parnevik 66th, Ian Poulter 67th and Nick Dougherty 69th.
All four are playing this week – McDowell and Parnevik in America, Poulter and Dougherty in Australia – trying to climb the table and guarantee themselves a place in the La Costa field.