From the PGA TOUR…
With the first event of the calendar year in the books, the countdown to the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship is well under way.
Zach Johnson won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui to move two spots to a career-high seventh place rank in the Official World Golf Ranking. Including this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii (PGA TOUR) and Volvo Golf Champions (European Tour), players have five weeks remaining to secure their positions among the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and punch their tickets to the Accenture Match Play Championship, which returns to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana from Feb. 17-23.
The Accenture Match Play Championship will feature the top 64 players in the OWGR as of Feb. 10. The bracket and tee times will be unveiled Feb. 16 once the OWGR is updated following the conclusion of the Northern Trust Open on the PGA TOUR.
Matt Kuchar, who won his first World Golf Championships title at last year’s Accenture Match Play Championship, is No. 8 in the World Ranking.
“Starting off last week at Kapalua and being announced as the World Golf Championships Accenture champion was a pretty cool way to start my year,” said Kuchar via teleconference today. “Last year’s victory was fantastic. Match play is such a fun, unique format. It’s an awesome feeling to be the last man standing at a match-play event. You just, you feel like you conquered the field. It really is a great feeling.”
If the field closed today, 45 of those who played last year would tee it up again at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain and 15 players would be making their first Accenture Match Play Championship start. At the top of the latter list is 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who finished as runner-up to Johnson at last week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Spieth, the 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year on the strength of a win at the John Deere Classic, had a putt for eagle on the final hole to force a playoff with Johnson, but settled for second place and moved to No. 17 in the OWGR.
Also on track to make their first Accenture Match Play Championship starts are Kevin Streelman (No. 36), Graham DeLaet (No. 37), Billy Horschel (No. 39), Jonas Blixt (No. 42), Jimmy Walker (No. 47), Harris English (No. 48), Joost Luiten (No. 50), Bernd Wiesberger (No. 55), Chris Kirk (No. 57), Brendon de Jonge (No. 59), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 60), D.A. Points (No. 61), Hyung-sung Kim (No. 62) and Peter Uihlein (No. 63).
Fans interested in purchasing or learning more about the Accenture Match Play Championship can visit the event on Twitter @WGC_Accenture, go to worldgolfchampionships.com or call 520-571-0400. Youth 18 and younger are admitted free of charge to the Accenture Match Play Championship when accompanied by a ticketed adult. There is no limit to the number of youth 18 and younger who can attend with a ticketed adult.