SHANE LOWRY'S prospects of a mouth-watering all-Ireland battle with Rory McIlroy in next Wednesday's Accenture Match Play first round were scotched when Brandt Snedeker dropped out of the event.
Pending any further withdrawals, Lowry is now slated to play Tiger Woods in his opening match. McIlroy finds himself in a less fraught confrontation with Freddie Jacobson, who replaces Snedeker in the 64-man field.
Another knock-on effect of Snedeker's decision to pull out of the first World Golf Championship of the season is that Irish Major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell will no longer meet on the opening day.
World No 4 Snedeker pulled out because of a rib injury he sustained in last month's Humana Challenge and aggravated as he swept to victory in the AT&T National Pro-Am last Sunday.
Snedeker is likely to miss the Honda Classic and return for the Cadillac Championship in Doral, the second World Golf Championship of the season, in three weeks' time.