Brooks Koepka still on WGC bubble

  • ESPN.com news services | February 10, 2014

In the confusing process for getting into next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, American Brooks Koepka might be the odd man out.

Or not.

With the Match Play field now set from the latest world rankings released Sunday night after the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Koepka is 68th in the world. The top 64 make 2014's first WGC event, but it is widely expected that world No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 2 Adam Scott and No. 4 Phil Mickelson won't be teeing it up in Arizona, thus opening up spots to the top 67.

Brooks Koepka
Warren Little/Getty ImagesBrooks Koepka needs four players to withdraw from the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to sneak into the NCAA tournament-like 64-player bracket.

Where Koepka's fate could reside is that No. 5 Justin Rose also might not play, but his uncertainty is due to injury. The reigning U.S. Open champion is slated to be in the field for this week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, though. Koepka could also get into the field if another player withdraws.

After this week's PGA Tour event in Los Angeles, the seeding of the field will take place to set up all 32 first-round matchups in an NCAA tournament-like bracket.

As it stands now, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is ranked 67th, could be the last man in field.

One of the reasons getting into the WGC-Match Play field can be so crucial to a player's career is if they can win a couple of matches, they have an excellent shot at cracking the top 50 in the world rankings, which could get them into the Masters and potentially other majors and WGCs during the year. For example, one way to get into the no-cut field for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in March is to be ranked inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings as of Feb. 24, at the conclusion of the WGC-Match Play.

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., will host the Match Play from Feb. 19-23. Matt Kuchar is the defending champion.

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