May's chance for revenge on Woods

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The Independent Online

Bob May, the runner-up to Tiger Woods in a dramatic play-off at the 2000 USPGA championship, will be hoping for a rematch with the world No 1 at next week's Accenture World Matchplay in San Diego. Qualification closed yesterday for the top 64 on the world rankings but withdrawals are allowed until next Monday's draw.

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn has already pulled out of the £3.5m event to rest a recurring neck injury before his defence of the Dubai Classic next month and with two more drop-outs May, who is ranked 67th in the world, will enter the La Costa field as last man and walk into an automatic pairing with Woods in the opening round.

John Cook, of the United States, will have that honour as it stands, but Argentina's Jose Coceres has not played so far this year with an arm injury and Colin Montgomerie is also doubtful with the back problem that forced him to quit the Johnnie Walker Classic last month.

Two years ago, Woods lost in the final here to Ireland's Darren Clarke, who failed to defend his title when the event moved to Melbourne, prompting a boycott by many leading players. The American Steve Stricker eventually emerged as champion after beating Sweden's Pierre Fulke in the final.

Should Bjorn remain the only withdrawal, Clarke would be seeded 12th and face Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, in the first round. Other possible pairings include Retief Goosen and Phillip Price, Jose Maria Olazabal and Hal Sutton, plus John Daly and Paul Azinger.

The South African Goosen was awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour yesterday, thanks in the main to his US Open triumph last year, when he also won the Order of Merit. The 33-year-old has already won in Australia and South Africa this year.

"I have always enjoyed playing on the European Tour and it was a wonderful feeling to win the Order of Merit for the first, but hopefully not the last, time in 2001," Goosen said.

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