The first World Golf Championships event of the season could be without a few headliners.
According to The Telegraph, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is strongly considering skipping the 64-player WGC-Match Play Championship played at Dove Mountain near Tucson, AZ in February. Also in doubt, according to the report, are Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, and world No. 1 Tiger Woods will have a decision to make because the Feb. 19-23 event is around the time when girlfriend Lindsey Vonn will be competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
That could leave the Match Play without four of its top five players.
“I’m thinking about having a month off around the February time,” Rose told the Telegraph. “It’s been such a busy year and I think I probably need to recharge the batteries around then.”
In all likelihood, this is the final year that the Match Play will be played at Dove Mountain. Last year, a freak snowstorm blew through the area and forced several delays, and then both Woods and Rory McIlroy lost their opening-round matches.
The lack of star power would be a blow to the tournament, of course, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising given the players’ general dislike for Dove Mountain and the fickle nature of the format.
Rose has missed the Match Play just once since 2007. Mickelson has played just twice since 2009, as the tournament usually conflicts with his kids’ break from school. Scott has never missed the match play, though he hasn’t advanced past the second round since 2005, while Woods has played every year but 2010, when he was embroiled in a scandal.