By DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brandt Snedeker withdrew from the Match Play Championship on Tuesday because of sore ribs that have been causing him discomfort despite his torrid stretch of golf.
Snedeker said he began feeling soreness in his left rib cage a month ago at the Humana Challenge. He then finished runner-up in consecutive weeks to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for his second win in his last seven starts.
Already this year, Snedeker has earned nearly $3 million and has risen to a career-best No. 4 in the world.
Snedeker also sustained a rib injury last summer, causing him to miss the U.S. Open. He returned a month later and had the 36-hole lead at the British Open before he tied for third at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
According to a statement from Crown Sports Management, he will return to Nashville and see his personal doctor, James Elrod, who has suggested rest to cope with the injury. It is not believed to be a long-term problem, and Snedeker is scheduled to play March 7-10 in the Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Snedeker will be replaced next week at the Match Play Championship by Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden, who is No. 66 in the ranking. The top 64 in the world are eligible for the Match Play. Phil Mickelson (No. 10) already has said he won't be playing because his kids are on a school holiday that week.
Jacobson appeared to have the 64th spot locked up until Patrick Reed made a 12-foot birdie putt on his last hole at Pebble Beach to tie for seventh with Jacobson, leaving the Swede 0.0002 points short of qualifying. Jacobson wasn't upset, though he decided to at least go to Marana, Ariz., as the alternate.
"I'm really happy to be part of it now and get a chance to play a little more golf that week," he said. "You never know how much golf you get to play, but I know I'm going to get there and play some golf."
The seeds for the tournament will not be determined until Sunday night. Bernd Wiesberger of Austria is the next alternate. If anyone withdraws after the brackets are announced Sunday night, he would take the seed of whomever he replaces.
Snedeker said his ribs were sore after a bogey-free 68 at Spyglass Hill in the second round last week, though he said the next day after a 68 at Pebble Beach that "I've got some sore stuff in my body, but that just happens."
"Five out of six weeks, you're going to be sore, so looking forward to next week off," he said Saturday.
Snedeker has broken par in all but one of his 18 rounds this year. Dating to the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs last summer, he has finished in the top three in six of his nine PGA Tour events, including a win at the Tour Championship to capture the $10 million FedEx Cup prize.
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