Ian Woosnam has followed David Howell in pulling out of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – and the organisers should be breathing a sigh of relief that Darren Clarke is still in the line-up for tomorrow’s start.
Clarke, who missed last week’s Irish Open because of a hamstring strain suffered in a football kickabout with his sons Tyrone and Conor, has had another mishap playing with them.
“I have two off-road buggies with cages on them – the boys have got one and I’ve got one,” said the Ryder Cup star.
“I have two fields beside my house and I was out on Sunday messing about. The boys were having a great time and so was I. Then I flipped it and rolled it and got 9.8 for technical difficulty!
“I banged my hand against the ground and ended up hanging upside down in the buggy. I could have done myself serious damage.
“I’ve been out on it about 15 times and I’ve never even threatened to flip it. It’s 250cc and I was lucky that this was all I did.”
His hand swelled up, but has since settled down. “I had an MRI scan and there are no broken bones, no tendon damage.
“I’m a jinx right now and you wouldn’t want to be hanging around me at the minute. But what am I going to do – wrap myself up in cotton wool?”
Clarke’s next event after this week is the US Open qualifier at Walton Heath on Monday week.
Having slipped to 87th in the world – he missed four successive cuts before pulling out of two events in America and then Ireland because of the hamstring problem – he is not exempt for the second major of the year.
Even second place this week, however, could take him back into the top 50 and earn him a place at Oakmont next month.
Howell, 32nd in the rankings, does not have the same worry, but is still eager to recover as quickly as possible from the back problem that keeps him out this week.
Woosnam, meanwhile, is still suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome.
The Welshman, whose last victory came on the course in the 2001 World Match Play, withdrew before the start of the Masters last month, came off during the third round of the Spanish Open and then last week pulled out of the Irish Open after an opening 77.
He had also planned to play in the Italian Open three weeks ago, but decided not to make the trip to Milan.
He has been complaining of leg cramps, saying in Madrid: “I can’t walk properly and you can’t play if you can’t walk.
“I just can’t get rid of it – it’s been a long time now. Just walking to the practice ground I’m knackered and after hitting 20 balls I am out of breath.
“I keep going into spasm. I feel like I’ve got to go flat out just to swing. I wake up one day and am fine, but then the next I just don’t have the movement.”