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Garcia the latest to skip Andersen Matchplay

Spanish young gun Sergio Garcia is the latest star to pull out of January's multi-million dollar Matchplay championship in Melbourne.

The 20-year-old joins Tiger Woods, David Duval and Lee Westwood in skipping the $5m million event starting at Metropolitan Golf Club on January 4.

Garcia, who contested February's Australian Masters at Huntingdale, cited scheduling problems for not wanting to travel again to Melbourne.

"I try to play a schedule that is the best for me,'' Garcia said.

"I would like to play the Matchplay but I need to be fresh for the start of my year, and I would be tired if I played in Australia.''

Tournament director Tony Rosenburg said despite Garcia's withdrawal, the field would be the best ever assembled on an Australian fairway, including the 1998 Presidents Cup.

"We think we are going to get 13 out of the top 20 in the world,'' Rosenburg said.

"Regardless of these few big names that we know are going to be missing, the reaction in America is really getting very, very strong for this event.

Garcia will be missing the World Matchplay in Melbourne.Allsport.

"We're signing them up left, right and centre at the moment. It's going very well.''

Rosenburg said Woods, Duval, Westwood and Garcia might change their minds when they see the quality of the players vying for the first prize of $1 million. The field will be announced on October 24.

"I wouldn't be surprised that if by the time we do that some of those guys say, `well, if they're all going, I better be a part of it','' he said.

"He (Garcia) was one of the ones that we knew would be missing and you can't help that.

"It's not the best time of the year and we know we are going to miss a few players.

"But I tell you what, this is going to be the strongest field ever at any Australian golf tournament -- by a mile.''

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, second on the European Order of Merit and ranked 11th in the world, will defend the title he won earlier this year after beating Woods in the final at La Costa in California.

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