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Top money not enough to entice top players

The richest prize in an official golf tournament was not enough to make Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh or Phil Mickelson want to play in the World Match Play Championship.

Along with losing the top three players in the world rankings, the 16-man field -- which offers $1.78 million to the winner -- will be without defending champion Ernie Els, who is recovering from knee surgery.

Sergio Garcia, Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco, Fred Couples and Davis Love III also decided not to play the HSBC World Match Play Championship. No Americans are in the field, which was finalized Tuesday.

The tournament will be played Sept. 15-18 at Wentworth.

Singh is defending his title that week at the 84 Lumber Classic in western Pennsylvania, while Mickelson, DiMarco and Couples also plan to play the PGA Tour event. All of them, along with Woods, will be playing in the Presidents Cup the following week in northern Virginia.

Woods has played the World Match Play only one time, losing in the finals to Mark O'Meara in 1998.

Retief Goosen (No. 5) is the highest-ranked player in the field and the only player in the top 10.

The tournament, which began in 1964, now counts on the European tour and world ranking. Players qualified based on their finishes in the majors, four designated European tour events and the European Order of Merit ranking.

Eight Europeans are in the field; David Howell, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Kenneth Ferrie, Luke Donald, Thomas Bjorn, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal. Also playing are Australians Steve Elkington, Mark Hensby and Geoff Ogilvy; South Africans Trevor Immelman and Tim Clark; U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand; and Angel Cabrera of Argentina.

Goosen, Immelman, Hensby, Clark, Campbell and Cabrera are on the International team for the Presidents Cup.


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