LA JOLLA, Calif. -- This has been a rough two-month patch for the sports marketing department at Accenture. The global management consulting firm had to drop Tiger Woods as a corporate pitchman and learned officially Wednesday that the next highest-seed in the upcoming WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship had dropped its tournament for personal reasons.
Saying he needed the week to take a family vacation, Phil Mickelson announced in his news conference prior to the Farmers Insurance Open that he would not be playing five-straight West Coast events, as anticipated. The change in plans is tied to treatment his wife, Amy, is receiving for cancer.
"We had a couple of procedures scheduled for this off-season that got postponed for various reasons, and we had to move it into March, and this affected some of our family trips," Mickelson said. "So how this is playing out is the week of the Tucson Match Play is a week that my kids are out of school and that I'm going to end up skipping this year, not because I want to. I think it's a wonderful tournament, I love the Match Play, I love Tucson. But it was the best week for us to have a family vacation that we had to reschedule because, again, of our procedures."
With Woods and now Mickelson off the draw, that leaves No. 3 Steve Stricker facing No. 66 Jason Dufner. Stricker won the 2001 WGC-Match Play against the weakest field in tournament history when the event was held in Australia. The field closes on Friday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m.
Woods has won the event three times. Mickelson has never made it past the quarterfinals. He will return the following week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, take off the Honda Classic, and defend his title at the WGC-CA Championship in Miami on March 11-14.
Down the road, Accenture's loss could be another tournament's gain.
"I expect this to kind of happen a little bit throughout the year, maybe missing tournaments I would like to play or normally would play," Mickleson said. "But later on in the year I'll probably add a tournament that I hadn't originally planned on playing to kind of offset it. So I just wanted to -- that just came about in the last couple of weeks."
-- Tim Rosaforte