Masters winner Bubba Watson is not the only big name missing from this week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass – at £5.8m golf’s richest event.
Open champion Darren Clarke, former Open champion Paul Lawrie, last year’s Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and American star Dustin Johnson will also be missing from what is often referred to as the sport’s unofficial fifth major.
So will Danes Thomas Bjorn and Anders Hansen, Korean KT Kim and Americans Anthony Kim, Paul Goydos and Steve Marino.
Watson’s absence is the biggest blow to the tournament. He is not injured and simply wants to spend more time at home with his wife and newly-adopted baby son.
“Plan to take at least a month off,” he said on Twitter. “The Players is one of the best weeks of the year, but bonding with my son and wife is what it is all about right now.
“Sorry to disappoint fans, but the Players has one of the best fields all year, tourney is more than fine without me.
“I feel blessed and excited that I get to spend quality time with Caleb and Angie in the next few weeks. I am lucky to play golf for a living, it allows me to pick my own schedule.”
Clarke has not made a halfway cut all year and his last top 10 finish remains his Open triumph at Sandwich last July.
Lawrie has also decided not to enter next month’s US Open, believing a trip to San Francisco for an event in which he has only once survived the halfway cut is not going to help his bid for a Ryder Cup place.