Henrik Stenson, the sixth-ranked player in the world, said that he is skipping the WGC-Match Play for the second consecutive year because of the change in format that took place in 2015. Instead of a knockout-style bracket, there is now round-robin pool play before deciding who will advance to the Round of 16.
But he's not alone. Justin Rose, Stenson's longtime Ryder Cup partner, told Golf World he won't play, either.
“I was not that keen on the round robin,” Stenson said prior to this week's Valspar Championship. “To me, match play is do-or-die. Either I win or I lose. I kind of like that format.”
Rose, ranked 13th in the OWGR, told Golf World that while it was a difficult decision, he thought a 72-hole stroke-play event would be his best preparation for the Masters. “Match play is a fun format, but it’s unpredictable,” he said. The Masters is two weeks after the match play; Rose will play the Shell Houston Open prior to Augusta.
"Yeah, I mean, the scheduling is a big part of it," Stenson said. "Given that I want to play the week before Augusta, I've played in the Middle East, I've had a couple weeks off and then I need to pick up some pace and play a few tournaments. Then I have this stretch of three weeks, I need a breather at some point, and that's the week I need to take off then. Like I said, you're not going to have everyone playing every week."