Snedeker withdrawal sets up Tiger clash for Lowry

Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 00:00

WGC Match Play: Golf’s hottest player Brandt Snedeker is out of next week’s Accenture Match Play in Arizona with a rib injury – and that means Ireland’s Shane Lowry is now in line to play Tiger Woods rather than Rory McIlroy.

Snedeker, who in his last three events has come second to Woods, second to Phil Mickelson and then first at Pebble Beach, started feeling soreness in his ribcage at the Humana Challenge last month and had more trouble last Thursday.

Currently on holiday with his family in Hawaii, the world number four will return to his Nashville home later this week and is then scheduled to see a specialist, who has already suggested immediate rest and does not perceive this as a long-term issue. He hopes to return for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in three weeks.

His withdrawal follows that of Mickelson and opens up a place for Sweden’s world number 66 Fredrik Jacobson.

If there are no more pull-outs Jacobson will take on world number one McIlroy next Wednesday and 65th-ranked Lowry will tackle Woods, while Austrian Bernd Wiesberger is now on stand-by.

European Tour: At 97th in the world, Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed is the highest-ranked player on view this week’s Africa Open in Eastern Cape, although the favourite is South African Thomas Aiken after he shot back-to-back 66s at the weekend for a share of sixth place behind runaway champion Sterne.

Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and David Higgins represent Irish interest.

Africa Open The Lowdown

Course: East London Golf Club,

East Cape, South Africa.

Prize money: €1 million (€166,660 to the winner).

Length: 6,691 yards. Par: 73.

Field: 156.

Layout: This old-fashioned course was opened in 1893. The front nine is tight with small greens but opens up a little on the way home. This is an incredibly short track with eight par fours under 390 yards – four of them under 325 yards. However, a strong sea breeze from the Indian Ocean can make it a bit tougher.

Type of player suited to the challenge: This a test of accuracy over power. Many will attempt to drive the greens on a couple of the par fours. An ability to keep the ball low in the wind is an advantage.

Last year: Louis Oosthuizen won by two shots.

Key attribute: Accuracy.

On TV: Sky Sports 2 (from 8.30am).

Weather forecast: Hot and sticky.

Time difference: South Africa is two hours ahead of Ireland.

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