Graeme McDowell pulled out of Final Qualifying for The Open today after his clubs remained missing in the “black hole” of Charles de Gaulle airport last night.
The Portrush ace (38) jetted out of Paris after the Open de France on Sunday, but his clubs never made it to Manchester ahead of his 36-hole Open qualifier at St Annes Old Links for three spots in the field Carnoustie later this month.
He tweeted: "I have officially withdrawn from @TheOpen qualifying tomorrow at St Anne’s Old Links. I cannot give 100% without my own equipment which has been mishandled by @AirFrance and must turn my attention to @DDFIrishOpen this weekend. Thanks for all the support."
"Lots of you wanting to know why I don’t grab a set off the rack and give it my best shot to get in @TheOpen. Of course I could do this, but wouldn’t be firing on all cylinders and there are 6 spots up for grabs next 2 weeks at @DDFIrishOpen and @ScottishOpen."
It was a frustrating 24 hours for the 2010 US Open champion, who finished tied for 37th in the Open de France and arrived at Manchester airport without clubs.
"Clubs still not on way from Paris," McDowell had tweeted earlier in the day yesterday. "Established that they are in the black hole known as CDG. @airfrance and @AirFranceUK have been very quiet on Twitter lately so no communication. Looking doubtful I will participate tomorrow @TheOpen qualifier."
McDowell was one of 15 Irish players seeking just 12 places in The Open from one of four 36-hole qualifiers in England and Scotland.
Asked by a Twitter follower if he wouldn't just rent some clubs and "give it a go", McDowell replied: "I hear you man. Only 3 spots from 72 decent players and I have another event to get ready for this week, so have to cut my losses and start preparing."
Revealing that he'd even emailed the CEO of Air France but received no reply, he followed up on his earlier threat to withdraw when it became clear that the clubs were not going to make it onto a plane and reach the Lancashire venue in time.
While Cian McNamara withdrew from Final Qualifying to concentrate on the Irish Open after earing his spot via the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Qualifier at Rosapenna at the weekend, there are still be 14 Irish players in action today
Killiney amateur Eoin Leonard got in from the reserve list at Prince's where he joins Brendan McCarroll and Tramore's Robin Dawson, who was runner-up in the European Amateur Championship on Saturday just a week after finishing runner-up in the Amateur Championship.
"It was a funny few days," Dawson said of his silver medal performance in the Hague, where he finished just one stroke behind Dane Nicolai Hojgaard.
"I played great tee to green but I didn’t hole anything even though I liked the greens and they were rolling nicely.
“But Tiarnan McLarnon caddied for me on the last day and read the putts for me and I started seeing the lines and it showed with a nice 68, which was two-three shots better than the first three rounds.
“I didn’t think seven-under would be the winning score so I was pleased to end up tied second."
As for The Open, he believes he has a chance of making it to Carnoustie.
“I like Prince’s. I played it well in the British Amateur last year so I have a nice threeball with Tom Lewis and Richard McEvoy, so I am looking forward to playing with those two European Tour players.
“Putting The Open in my schedule would be a nice problem to have and there’s no reason why I can’t put two decent numbers together and try and get through.
Final Qualifying for The Open
- The Renaissance Club: Ben Best*, Cameron Raymond, Kevin Le Blanc, Dermot McElroy, Conor O’Rourke, Reeve Whitson
- Prince’s: Robin Dawson*, Eoin Leonard*, Brendan McCarroll
- Notts Hollinwell: Peter Williamson, Michael Hoey;
- St Annes Old Links: Neil O’Briain, James Sugrue*, Shane Franklin, Graeme McDowell/WD). *amateur.