Henrik Stenson officially skipping WGC-Dell Match Play again

Henrik Stenson will officially skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play for the third straight year.

Stenson, who won the 2007 match-play event for his first PGA Tour victory, cited the tournament’s pool-play format, which the Tour introduced in 2015, as the primary reason.

“Match play, it’s kind of do or die for me,” Stenson said. “Either I’m winning and I’m staying, or I’m losing and I’m going home.”

Stenson said he’d be in favor of a “middle ground,” pointing to the British Amateur format, which starts with a stroke-play portion before moving on to single-elimination match play. That could help ensure more big names around for the weekend without using pool play.

The format isn’t the only reason for Stenson’s absence, though. The Swede likes to play the week before the Masters, and there are other events before the Match Play that he enjoys playing more. At 41, Stenson won’t play four straight weeks before the Masters.

Stenson, who also skipped last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, instead plans to play a pre-Masters schedule that includes this week’s Valspar Championship, next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Houston Open, the week before the Masters.

He is ranked 14th in the world and last played in early February, tying for 60th at the Maybank Championship. He started the year with two top-8 showings in European Tour events. He was T-2 at the WGC-HSBC Champions last fall in his only Tour start of the season.

“I’m pretty pleased with my scheduling,” Stenson said. “I played a full month, then had a month away and got some rest and family time and some practice. So, you know, I’m feeling pretty good. I got a big stretch ahead of me. … It’s all a lead up to the Masters, of course, and I’ve done some good work and I guess I’m here to get some answers this week, to see what’s working and what’s potentially not working and how to move along for the next couple of weeks.”

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