Darren Clarke has been forced to withdraw from the US Masters through injury.
The 2011 Open champion pulled a hamstring more than a week ago during holiday on The Bahamas island of Abaco and will miss the season’s first major championship.
“It is with deep regret that I will not be able to play at Augusta this year,” said Clarke. “Playing in The Masters is one of golf’s greatest pleasures and I am very disappointed to be missing out.
“I was playing tennis with the kids about two weeks ago and that is when I picked up the tear on my hamstring. It was just one of those freak injuries which is really disappointing.
“I have done absolutely everything to be at Augusta; physio, ultrasound and icing, but I cannot physically turn through shots and there is no point in going to the Masters if you are not one hundred per cent fit.
“Understandably, I am absolutely gutted not to be there but I hope to be fit enough to be back in action in the Ballantine’s Championship on The European Tour in a couple of weeks’ time.”
The problem prompted Clarke to pull out of last week’s Texas Valero Open in the hope that further rest would speed his recovery, but intensive treatment twice a day has failed to bring the Northern Irishman back to the levels of fitness necessary to cope with the undulating terrain at Augusta National.
Clarke is to continue with treatment in The Bahamas, but will not make a decision on his comeback until the problem has been resolved.