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The top 66 qualified because Phil Mickelson (family) and Brandt Snedeker (sore ribs) are not playing.

David Toms knows both sides of this feeling. It was fun when he reached the championship match against Woods in 2003, and it was a blast two years later when he smoked Chris DiMarco in the finals to win. And then there was the time he lost to Sergio Garcia in the opening round three years ago.

“I lose my first match and then I got picked for drug testing,” Toms said. “I said, `Don’t you think you should test the guy who just won?’ But it’s a great week if you have a chance at the end.”

The tough part, of course, is getting started.

It’s not a good feeling to lose early, particularly for some of the international players who have crossed oceans to get here. Such was the plight of Thomas Bjorn one year. He played 14 holes and was on his way back to Europe.

Mahan was asked the feeling of losing the opening match, climbing into the van for a slow, long ride back to the clubhouse.

“You just don’t want to be there anymore, unless you win,” he said. “Then, you don’t have a problem signing anything that anyone wants you to sign. But it’s a weird feeling. The van can’t move fast enough. People can’t get out of the way fast enough. Everything bothers you. And if someone asks you, `How was your day?’ you want to punch them.”

There have been some quick tempers over the years.

Woods, the one year he lost in the opening round as the No. 1 seed, walked down the 18th fairway alone at La Costa with a few thousand people in tow, not saying a word. Ernie Els is known as “Heisman” after losing in the opening round.

That’s the gesture he once made when he saw a reporter approaching.

A European Tour official approached Pat Perez for a comment after he lost one year. Perez offered three words. Two of them couldn’t be printed.

Mahan said of Perez: “He probably does all the things I think about.”

Good form doesn’t always count for much, either.

The past two winners on the PGA Tour in the week before Match Play both lost in the opening round _ Bill Haas to Ryo Ishikawa, Dustin Johnson to Camilo Villegas.

As for match play reputations, Justin Rose might be worth part of the conversation. He won an exhibition in Turkey last year that was medal match play _ head-to-head with the lowest 18-hole score winning _ and then did pretty well in that other exhibition, the Ryder Cup.

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