PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy was drawn on Sunday to play Ireland’s Shane Lowry in the first round of next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.
Northern Irishman McIlroy, who clinched his second major title at last year’s PGA Championship by a record eight shots, was beaten 2&1 by American Hunter Mahan in last year’s Match Play final.
World number two Tiger Woods, a three-times winner of the elite World Golf Championships event, will meet fellow American Charles Howell III in Wednesday’s opening round while third-ranked Briton Luke Donald takes on Germany’s Marcel Siem.
South African Louis Oosthuizen, ranked fifth, faces Britain’s Richie Ramsay and sixth-ranked Englishman Justin Rose launches his campaign against South Korean K.J. Choi.
Two members of the world’s top 10 are not playing in the 64-player event, fourth-ranked Brandt Snedeker pulled out because of sore ribs while ninth-ranked Phil Mickelson will be absent due to a family holiday.
Irishman Lowry, ranked 65th last week, gained his place at Dove Mountain when Mickelson withdrew while Snedeker’s absence handed Swede Fredrik Jacobson, then ranked 66th, a place in the draw.
Jacobson, who tied for third at the Northern Trust Open on Sunday after bogeying the final hole, will meet South African Ernie Els in the opening round.
”I‘m just excited to be a part of it,“ Jacobson told reporters after closing with a two-under-par 69 at Riviera Country Club. ”I‘m looking forward to it. I’ll deal with it when I get there.
“You never know how much golf you get to play, but I know I‘m going to get there and play some golf. It’s always fun. Anything can happen, we know that. It can be a quick exit or you can be there (in the tournament) for a long time.”
Jacobson has previously competed in the Match Play Championship in 2004, 2005 and last year.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Peter Rutherford