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Wet weather delays World Match Play
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Vijay Singh is top seed for Match Play Championship

Doubt over Match Play start on Thursday

Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods are ready to go at the rain-delayed WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, although there are doubts about the ability of the waterlogged La Costa Resort and Spa to host the $7.5 million event.

"I walked on it today but it looks like it's in worse condition than yesterday, and yesterday was bad," said Australia's Stuart Appleby on Wednesday.

Appleby, winner of the season-opening Mercedes Championship, added: "The course was extremely wet. Many holes out there were unplayable.

"...There's probably a 25 percent chance we'll have a playable golf course tomorrow (Thursday)."

Battered by days of record rainfall, officials pushed back Wednesday's original start to Thursday and could be facing more delays if the weather refuses to co-operate.

The second and third rounds are due to be staged on Friday, with the quarter-finals and semi-finals on Saturday and the 36-hole final planned for Sunday.

Rain or shine, Woods said he was ready to begin his quest for an unprecedented third consecutive title here and a return to the top of the world rankings.

The 29-year-old American has won his last 12 matches in this event, with his overall record comprising 20 victories and only three defeats.

World number two Woods has made a habit of thriving in the World Golf Championships (WGC) arena, with eight wins in 16 starts. In contrast, world number one Singh has yet to win one.

Woods said he was looking forward to facing Zimbabwe's Nick Price in his opening match.

"I don't know if we're going to play Thursday or Friday but whatever day we start I'll be ready to go," said Woods.

"I'm playing a three-times major championship winner. It's going to be a good fight and it's going to be a lot of fun.

"I get in my little world. We can be friends afterwards, that's fine. That's the way it is."

While Woods has flourished in the match play pressure-cooker, Singh has yet to warm to the format, never advancing past the second round.

The workaholic Fijian will also have to quickly rediscover the form that led him to nine PGA Tour titles last season as he looks to break out of a minor slump.

After missing the cut for the first time in nearly a year at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this month, Singh returned to his Florida home to sharpen his game for a potential final showdown with Woods here.

"After (Pebble Beach) I needed a break," said Singh. "I did some good work at home, and unfortunately the (bad) weather has not left us, but I'm ready."

Pumps were working overtime on the par-72 course on Wednesday, draining fairways and bunkers that had been transformed into small lakes and provided new homes for the area's waterfowl.

"It would have been impossible to play this morning," said tournament director Mark Russell. "But conditions are getting a lot better.

"If it doesn't rain, which it's not supposed to, we'll start playing tomorrow."


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