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Accenture Match Play Championships

World's top golfers flock to Dove Mountain

Golf world turns it eyes on Southern Arizona through Sunday

Golfers started trickling onto the course for practice at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain on Monday, getting ready for a brutal week of head-to-head competition in the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship.

Fans were also browsing the course early Monday, getting a close-up view of some of the best golfers in the world. All but two of the top 64 PGA professionals in the World Golf Rankings entered the tournament, with No. 4 Brandt Snedeker (sore ribs) and No. 10 Phil Mickelson (vacation with family) declining invitations. Top golfers in the field include Tiger Woods (ranked No. 2), University of Arizona alum Jim Furyk (No. 28) and fan favorites Rickie Fowler (No. 33), Ernie Els(No. 24) and last year's winner, Hunter Mahan (No. 26). 

Competition starts Wednesday morning. Fan access is more relaxed Monday and Tuesday's practice rounds, when photos are allowed and players often sign autographs. Pictures are not allowed during tournament play, and asking for autographs is frowned upon.

The match-play event features one-on-one competition, with 32 single-elimination matches on Wednesday and the field halved daily through Sunday, when semi-final and final matches are played.

This is the seventh year the tournament has been in Tucson. The Ritz-Carlton will host the tournament through at least next year, but there is no contract to continue play here after that. The tournament came to southern Arizona in 2007 in part to escape poor weather in California – and ironically a winter storm is expected here on Wednesday that could bring snow to the golf course nestled at the base of the Tortolita Mountains.

Tickets are available through www.worldgoflchampionships.com starting at $25 per day. Weekly passes cost $125.

The field includes 43 international golfers from 16 nations, including South Africa (seven golfers), Australia (four), Spain (three), Germany (two) and Denmark (two). The Accenture Match Play is one of four World Golf Championship events. This year the tournament will again allow fans to follow golfers down the fairways for the semi-final and final rounds on Sunday.

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B. Poole/TucsonSentinel.com

Thorbjorn Olesen signs an autograph for a fan at the Accenture Match Play Championship on Monday. Olesen - ranked No. 40 in the world - was playing a practice round

Tickets are available through www.worldgoflchampionships.com starting at $25 per day. Weekly passes cost $125.