British Open champion, Darren Clarke has withdrawn from next month’s U.S. Open in San Francisco.
Clarke, 43 advised United States Golf Association officials today that a groin injury he has been carrying for some weeks is still troubling him.
Clarke also has reluctantly withdrawn from next fortnight’s Nordea Masters in Sweden.
“I am extremely disappointed as Open champion that I will not be able to play the US Open,” said the Northern Irishman, who earned a five-year exemption with his victory at Sandwich.
“But I have to make sure I am 100% ready for Royal Lytham (his Open defence is on July 19-22) and I have been advised not to play for a month.
“I’ve not been able to get through the ball properly and I don’t want to take any chances.”
It is the second occasion Clarke has withdrawn from a U.S. Open as he withdrew from the 2005 tournament to be with his now late first wife, Heather who was going into hospital for cancer treatment,
The Northern Irishman complained of a groin injury ahead of this year’s Shell Houston Open and also took the concern into the following week’s U.S. Masters and then eventually missed the Augusta National halfway cut with scores of 73 and 81.
He then headed to the Caribbean to be married for a second time.
Upon returning to competition in Korea for the Ballantine’s Championship Clarke again with missed the halfway cut.
He was then bundled out of the round robin stages of last fortnight’s Volvo World Match-Play Championship and missed the cut in last week’s flagship BMW PGA with scores of 71 and 77.
Clarke has now missed in seven of 16 events since capturing the Open Championship last July with a best finish being a share of 35th place in last September’s European Masters.
Clarke is schedule to next play in the June 28th starting Irish Open and then after teeing-up in the July 5th commencing French Open his next event will be the defence of the Open Championship commencing July 19th at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
Clarke’s withdrawal from the U.S. Open follows soon in the footsteps of Scotland’s Paul Lawrie who has elected not to contest the season’s second Major.
Instead, the new World No. 29 will concentrate his efforts of qualifying for the European Ryder Team by teeing-up the following week in a European Tour event in Cologne.