Special to The Explorer
Steve Stricker, who moved to No. 2 in the official world golf ranking with his victory at the Northern Trust Open, is the fourth different No. 1 overall seed in the 12-year history of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship.
Joining Stricker as No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets are England's Lee Westwood — the highest-ranked international player in the field — American Jim Furyk and Germany's Martin Kaymer.
The top 64 from the official world golf ranking had until 3 p.m. Friday to commit to this week's tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain. Complete brackets were released Sunday.
The first round of match play, featuring 32 head-to-head matches, begins Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The four brackets at the Accenture Match Play Championship are named in honor of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Sam Snead. Players in each of the four brackets are seeded No. 1 through No. 16, with the top-ranked golfer playing the No. 16 seed, No. 2 pairing off against No. 15, No. 3 vs. No. 14, and so forth in the first round.
World #1 Tiger Woods has opted not to compete in 2010 Match Play. Stricker, who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2001 as the No. 55 seed, joins Woods, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh as the only No. 1 overall seeds in the history of the tournament. Stricker is the #1 seed in the Bobby Jones Bracket.
Westwood, currently ranked #4 in the official world golf ranking, earned the #2 overall seed when Phil Mickelson withdrew. The appearance is Westwood's 10th in the event. He has not advanced past the second round.
Furyk, fifth in the world, is also making his 10th appearance in the Accenture Match Play Championship, while Kaymer competes for a third time. Westwood is the top seed in the Gary Player Bracket, while Furyk and Kaymer are the top seeds in the Snead and Hogan brackets, respectively.
Chris Wood (#65 in the world) and Ross McGowan (#66), a pair of Englishmen, gained entry into the field when Woods and Mickelson chose not to compete. They're both making their first Match Play appearances.