Henrik Stenson had already said he would not be participating in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. 2013 U.S. Open champion and last year’s Olympics gold medalist Justin Rose has now joined him.
Stenson, the No. 4 ranked player in the world and the highest ranked player in the field in this week’s Valpsar Championship, said he chose not to play in the Match Play event for the second straight year due to its format.
“I was not that keen on the round robin,” Stenson said in the pre-tournament press conference this week at the Valspar Championship. “To me, match play is do-or-die. Either I win or I lose. I kind of like that format.”
Rose was not as open to his disdain for the format, opting to focus on his preparation for the Masters.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Rose said on golfdigest.com. “I had to look at what I felt was maybe the best preparation for me to do well at Augusta, and that was 72-hole stroke play. Guaranteeing that type of golf. Match play is a fun format, but it’s unpredictable.”
Prior to last year’s Match Play relocating to Austin Country Club, the PGA Tour altered the format with 16 groups of four players playing round-robin matches Wednesday through Friday and the top 16 players advancing to the weekend. The round of 16 and quarterfinals are on Saturday and the semifinals, finals, and consolation match will take place on Sunday.
Stenson was forced to withdraw from last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship due to illness. He was on fire in the first round of the Valspar Championship as he shot a 7-under 64 to get things started.
Rose is not in the field this week at the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort.
They are both scheduled to play in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and the Shell Houston Open the week after the Match Play in Austin.