Els only top 64 star missing in San Diego

Ernie Els has been confirmed as the only one of golf’s top 64 players missing the Accenture World Match Play Championship at La Costa near San Diego this week.

Ernie Els has been confirmed as the only one of golf’s top 64 players missing the Accenture World Match Play Championship at La Costa near San Diego this week.

The world number three, who in four previous visits never got beyond the second round, skips the event for the second year in a row. First reserve Shingo Katayama comes in as a result and will play top seed Vijay Singh in tomorrow’s first round.

If there are any more withdrawals before the start now there will be no replacements and opponents will be awarded byes into the last 32.

Fifteen Europeans are taking part, including 2000 winner Darren Clarke, who plays fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell. The other all-European clash is Sergio Garcia against Alex Cejka.

Colin Montgomerie currently stands 62nd in the world, but was outside the top 64 last week when the line-up was determined. Paul McGinley is the only other member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team last September not taking part.

The course had several lakes on the fairways yesterday following some torrential downpours and with more forecast the start might have to be put back. All games are over 18 holes except the 36-hole final on Sunday.

Draw for tomorrow’s first round (seedings in brackets):

(1) Vijay Singh v (64) Shingo Katayama; (32) Jonathan Kaye v (33) Jay Haas; (16) Chris DiMarco v (49) Tim Herron; (17) Justin Leonard v (48) John Daly; (8) Stewart Cink v (57) Fred Funk; (25) KJ Choi v (40) Steve Flesch; (9) Davis Love v (56) Chris Riley; (24) Lee Westwood v (41) Tom Lehman; (4) Retief Goosen v (61) Stephen Leaney; (29) Peter Lonard v (36) Fred Couples; (13) Miguel Angel Jimenez v (52) Rod Pampling; (20) Chad Campbell v (45) Fredrik Jacobson; (5) Mike Weir v (60) Kirk Triplett; (28) Tim Clark v (37) Craig Parry; (12) Darren Clarke v (53) Graeme McDowell; (21) Todd Hamilton v (44) Robert Allenby; (2) Tiger Woods v (63) Nick Price; (31) Nick O’Hern v (34) Charles Howell; (15) Kenny Perry v (50) Thomas Levet; (18) Luke Donald v (47) Zach Johnson; (7) Padraig Harrington v (58) Jeff Maggert; (26) Thomas Bjorn v (39) Rory Sabbatini; (10) Stuart Appleby v (55) Joakim Haeggman; (23) Jim Furyk v (42) Ian Poulter; (3) Phil Mickelson v (62) Loren Roberts; (30) Angel Cabrera v (35) Paul Casey; (14) David Toms v (51) Richard Green; (19) Stephen Ames v (46) Mark Hensby; (6) Sergio Garcia v (59) Alex Cejka; (27) Scott Verplank v (38) Jerry Kelly; (11) Adam Scott v (54) Trevor Immelman; (22) Shigeki Maruyama v (43) David Howell.

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