Two golfers earn spots in Accenture event
Dustin Johnson and Anders Hansen won tournaments on opposite sides of the world last week to move into the top 64 in the world ranking and earn a spot in the Accenture Match Play Championship next week in Arizona.
Monday was the cutoff for making the 64-man field, which is determined by the world ranking.
Still to be determined is whether Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed and defending champion, decides to make his return from knee surgery at the Match Play. Players have until 5 p.m. Friday to enter the tournament.
In the latest chapter of golf going global, only 17 Americans are among the top 64, the lowest ever since the Accenture Match Play Championship began in 1999. There were 40 Americans in the first year of the tournament.
If Woods does not play, Richard Green of Australia would be the 64th seed.
The brackets will not be set until Sunday.
Johnson has never played in a World Golf Championship, and he might not have expected this one. He was at No. 119 in the world until winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Monday, when rain washed out the final round. He moved up to No. 45.
“Any time you can win, it opens up lots of doors for you,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t be more excited. It couldn’t have come at a better time, either.”
Hansen was at No. 65 in the world ranking until the Dane won the Vodacom Championship on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, moving him up to No. 51. Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who was No. 67, tied for second at the Vodacom and moved up to No. 63.
Falling out of the top 64 were Dudley Hart, who missed the cut at Pebble Beach; Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old from Japan, and Green. Neither Ishikawa nor Green played last week.
Ishikawa fell from No. 64 to No. 67, and could only get in with three players withdrew from Match Play.
Perhaps the biggest victim was D.J. Trahan, who was at No. 70 in the world. He was in a three-way tie for sixth through three rounds at Pebble Beach and could have moved to No. 64 by finishing alone in fifth. But when the fourth round was canceled because of rain, Trahan only moved up to No. 66 and currently is the second alternate.
If Woods were to play and no one withdrew, Woods would face Brendan Jones of Australia in the first round. Sergio Garcia, the No. 2 seed, would face Schwartzel, while Padraig Harrington would play Pat Perez and Vijay Singh would face Soren Kjeldsen.