British champ hurt, won’t be at Olympic 

click to enlarge A groin strain will force Darren Clarke, the defending British Open champion, to miss the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. - REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE
  • REUTERS/Phil Noble
  • A groin strain will force Darren Clarke, the defending British Open champion, to miss the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.

While 11 players were busy in London securing their spots for the upcoming U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, one notable player announced he won’t be teeing it up in San Francisco.

A groin strain will prevent Darren Clarke, the defending British Open champion, from playing in the June 14-17 U.S. Open.

“I am extremely disappointed as [British] Open champion that I am unable to play the U.S. Open,” Clarke said. “I have to make sure I am 100 percent ready for the [British] Open and to do that I have been advised not to play for a month.”

The injury has bothered Clarke since early April. His best finish this year on the PGA Tour is a tie for 33rd in February.

Meanwhile, Swede Alex Noren and Briton Marc Warren booked their tickets for the U.S. Open after finishing on top of the 36-hole sectional qualifying at Walton Heath on Monday.

Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie failed in his bid after making a 900-mile overnight trip to Scotland and back to fetch a putter.

He left Wentworth on Sunday after a closing 81 in the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event, on the outskirts of London. He arrived home and, after sharing dinner with his family, jumped back in his car to make the journey to the south of England.

Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal, who has taken over as Ryder Cup skipper from Montgomerie for this year’s match in Illinois, also missed out at Walton Heath.

Noren and Warren led the way after shooting 9-under-par 135s and were joined by nine other qualifiers.

Italian Matteo Manassero, British duo Lee Slattery and Matthew Baldwin, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, French pair Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Bourdy, Finn Mikko Ilonen, South African George Coetzee and Dane Soren Kjeldsen also went through.

112th U.S. Open

WHEN: June 14-17
WHERE: Olympic Club’s Lake Course
TV: NBC, ESPN
INFO: www.usopen.com
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Rory McIlroy

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