Poulter out to defend Match Play title

Published 18/02/2011 10:13:15

With the first major of the year - the US Masters - just around the corner the world's best golfers will be looking to iron out any issues in their game over the next couple of months. The next star-studded tournament in the build up to the Masters will be the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona, with last year's winner Ian Poulter looking to defend his title.

The provisional draw has been announced and it has thrown up a number of interesting clashes with reigning champion Poulter coming up against 2009 Open champion Stewart Cink, in one of the stand out draws. Although the final field can't be officially confirmed until all the players show up in Tuscon, only Francesco Molinari is doubtful from the 64 entrants, so anyone looking to bet on golf should be able to back almost anyone else knowing they'll make the first tee.

Anders Hansen will replace former champion Henrik Stenson after the Dane finished tied runner-up at last week's Dubai Desert Classic. Stenson will have to settle for a place as first reserve and hope for a withdrawal if he is going to get his chance.

Recent Qatar Masters winner Thomas Bjorn will face a Tiger Woods who is still some way away from his best. Woods missed last year's tournament after his off course behaviour came to light. The three-time champion at this tournament will be looking to bounce back from the disastrous Dubai Desert Classic, in which he finished tied 20th and was fined for spitting, in what was probably one of Tiger's less enjoyable days at the office.

Current world number one Lee Westwood, one of the favourites in the Masters odds , is due to face Japan's Toru Taniguchi in the two player's opening round clash. The only all-European clash to come out of the draw was Scotland's Martin Laird against the other Molinari brother Edoardo.

These tournaments between now and the start of the Masters in April will be essential for these players to find some form before the first major of the year and make sure they head to Augusta in the right frame of mind.


1.  B-r-r-r, anything can happen when it's that cold in the desert. Maybe Luke Donald has some Eskimo blood in him because he just cruised through that field like it was a summer day.

comment by OVER THE TOP GOLF - 02/03/2011 17:36

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