When it comes to second choices, spending time at a place called Coco Beach does not exactly sound like a terrible option, but there is no doubt that Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell would rather be elsewhere this week.
For as the world s top 64 available players compete for a first prize of 1.3million in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, two of Europe s Ryder Cup stars will be chasing a first prize of just 433,000 in the Puerto Rico Open.
That will be particularly hard to take for Poulter, who won the Match Play title in 2010 and missed out on a place in last year s event by an incredibly small margin.
Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell (David Davies/PA)
Great opportunity to go put some @FedEx Cup points on the board
- Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) March 21, 2017 Poulter slipped from 64th to 67th in the world rankings just before the deadline 12 months ago. The top 64 qualified for the Match Play, although with Henrik Stenson opting not to play and Jim Furyk ruled out through injury, the cut-off line moved to 66th.
That meant Poulter missed out by just 0.044 ranking points, although as first reserve he had to leave his journey to Puerto Rico as late as possible in the hope that someone would withdraw from the field in Texas.
When that did not happen, the 41-year-old at least had the consolation of going on to finish second in Puerto Rico, albeit after taking a one-shot lead into the final round.
Poulter could only card a closing 72 containing 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey to miss out on the play-off between Tony Finau and Steve Marino by a single shot, with Finau claiming victory on the third extra hole.
Goodnight from the @PuertoRicoOpen! _ pic.twitter.com/FRMcyqSPQE
- PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 22, 2017 That was Poulter s last top-10 finish worldwide - he was also sidelined for several months with a foot injury - and he returns to the event ranked 199th, while McDowell is 82nd following six top 10s since his victory in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in 2015.
Finau will not defend his title after opting to take the chance on being first reserve for the Match Play.