Lee Westwood's played just once in the last six weeks, a T-33 at the WGC-Mexico Championship in late February. And it's a schedule, or strategy, that's produced dividends.
On Monday, tournament officials announced the field for next week's WGC-Match Play, a field predicated off the top 64 players in the Official Golf World Ranking. Westwood, who jumped from 119th in the world to 64th after winning the Nedbank at the end of 2018, was able to hold onto the last spot.
The 45-year-old Westwood will be making his 18th appearance at the Match Play event, although the tournament has not treated him kindly. He's advanced to the Round of 16 just twice, his best showing a fourth-place finish in 2012.
Also qualifying for the event was Jim Furyk. The former U.S. Open champ vaulted 110 spots to No. 57 thanks to his turn-the-clock performance at TPC Sawgrass. Furyk, who failed to qualify in two of the last three seasons, has a runner-up and two fourth-place finishes in Match Play.
Abraham Ancer, Russell Knox and Tom Lewis were other players on the bubble that gained entry while Satoshi Kodaira—who's missed five of his last seven cuts—fell from No. 61 to No. 65.
Tiger Woods, who had indicated he would wait and see how he felt after the Players Championship, also committed to playing in the event. Though Woods is a three-time Match Play winner, he's not played in the event since 2013, and not advanced past the Round of 32 since 2008.
Though the qualification period has ended, seedings based on pods (the Match Play's first three days are a round-robin elimination) will wait until the completion of this week's events. Should any qualified player drop out (Adam Scott had previously indicated he plans on skipping the WGCs), Kodaira is the first alternate, followed by Luke List.
The WGC-Match Play returns to Austin C.C. for the fourth straight year. Bubba Watson is the defending champ.