Darren Clarke’s decision to play injured in last month’s Masters Tournament has backfired spectacularly.
The Dungannon man has been forced him to pull out of the US Open and could be doubtful for the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in four weeks’ time.
The Open champion, 43, suffered a groin injury during the Shell Houston Open, missed the cut there and didn’t turn up at Augusta National until the following Tuesday night.
After missing the cut at Augusta he played in the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea three weeks later, where he again missed the cut, and in the Volvo World Match Play in Spain last week.
Having lost both his group games at Finca Cortesin, he headed for the BMW PGA at Wentworth but again missed the cut, leaving him yet to make the weekend in a full field event this season.
Speaking at Royal Portrush on Sunday, he confessed: “I’m battling an injury and I have played to play through it because I have not been playing great. But it isn’t really getting any better and I tweaked it again at Wentoworth. Injury is not my thing, I have never had many in my career.”
Advised to rest his groin problem, Clarke has also withdrawn from next week’s Nordea Masters in Sweden and if he recovers in time, his next appearance is now expected to be the Irish Open from June 28.
“I am extremely disappointed as Open champion that I will not be able to play the US Open,” Clarke said yesterday. “But I have to make sure I am 100 per cent 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.”