Woods to skip ex-sponsor's tournament

One of the sponsors who have dropped Tiger Woods are not going to have him playing in their tournament next week.

The world number one is missing – as is Phil Mickelson – from the 64-man line-up for the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championship starting in Tucson, Arizona, next Wednesday.

There had been speculation that Woods might end his indefinite break at the same event in which he returned to action last February after eight months out following knee surgery.

But that always seemed unlikely with Accenture having decided before Christmas that the 34-year-old – winner of the title in 2003, 2004 and 2008 – was not the right man for them after the personal revelations that came out at the end of last year.

So the wait goes on to see when Woods, unseen in public since his November 27 car crash and admission of infidelity, will play again.

The next possibilities would appear to be either the WGC-CA Championship in Miami on March 11-14 or Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando two weeks later.

An alternative, though, is the unofficial – and private – Tavistock Cup match on his home course Isleworth in Florida on March 22-23.

That is an annual made-for-television affair between the star-studded club members of Isleworth and Lake Nona and Woods has played every year since the inaugural event in 2004.

Not that there is any certainty Woods intends to play any time soon.

He is reported to have spent time in a sex addiction clinic in Mississippi and trying to repair his marriage appears to be his top priority rather than making sure he has a tournament under his belt before The Masters in April.

Mickelson’s decision not to play in Tucson was announced last week. His wife and mother were both diagnosed with breast cancer last year and he is spending a week with his family.

Into the field in their place come England’s Chris Wood and Ross McGowan, 65th and 66th in the world.

If there are no more withdrawals before Monday’s official draw Wood will play second seed and stablemate Lee Westwood, while McGowan would tackle top seed Steve Stricker.

There are also two other all-European matches in the provisional first round draw – Luke Donald, runner-up to Stricker in Los Angeles last Sunday, against Graeme McDowell and Oliver Wilson against Dubai Desert Classic winner Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Meanwhile, Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said he does not think Woods himself knows when he will return to action.

The Scot told Sky Sports News: “I don’t think he knows. The first major is coming up in two months. Will he miss it? Who knows?

“The Masters is the key, if he’s back by then he’ll be in the Ryder Cup. It will be a better event if he plays and it would mean more to us, if we win, to do it with him playing.”


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