By Steve Elling
Even with easy money and scads of world ranking points on offer just for showing up, injured Paul Casey on Thursday elected to withdraw from the season’s first World Golf Championships event next week outside Tucson, Ariz.
Casey, who dislocated a shoulder in a holiday snowboarding accident, visited his doctor in Phoenix on Wednesday and the exam results were mixed, so Casey elected to withdraw Thursday from the Accenture Match Play to give replacement George Coetzee extra chance to get to the event site in timely fashion.
Casey, 34, has twice finished second in the Accenture event and is a past winner at the European Tour’s match-play tournament. Coetzee, ranked No. 66 in the world, is South African and will be making his first Accenture appearance. The field is limited to 64 players.
“He wanted to give Coetzee time to get there,” swing coach Peter Kostis said.
Until the moment he received the updated physician’s report on Thursday, Kostis was optimistic that his top pupil would be green-lighted by doctors this week, but it now appears that Casey will remain in rehab mode until the next WGC event, at Doral, in three weeks.
Casey, a former world No. 3 who has battled a series of injuries over the past three seasons, fell while snowboarding over Christmas break in Vail, Colo.