Graeme McDowell pulls out of Open qualifier after clubs lost in transit


Graeme McDowell has pulled out of Tuesday’s Open Championship qualifier after his clubs were lost following a flight from France.

McDowell had been scheduled to compete for a place at Carnoustie in qualifying at St Anne’s, with 72 players set to contest the three available spots.

But the 2010 US Open champion’s clubs went missing after he flew into Manchester following his tied 37th-placed finish at the French Open on Sunday.

And, having had no luck in his attempts to locate them, the 38-year-old has opted to turn his attention to this week’s Irish Open at Ballyliffin, which begins on Thursday and also offers a chance to qualify for the Open.

He said on Twitter: “I have officially withdrawn from @TheOpen qualifying tomorrow at St Anne’s Old Links.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.”

McDowell had earlier tweeted he had established his clubs were “in the black hole known as CDG (Charles de Gaulle airport).”

The Northern Irishman was ranked fourth in the world at the start of 2011, six months after his stunning US Open triumph at Pebble Beach.

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But McDowell has dropped to 175th in the world rankings after several lean seasons and is in danger of missing the 147th Open Championship to be held on the Angus course from July 19-22.

Three spots at the tournament were up for grabs at the qualifying event in Blackpool and given McDowell was one of the biggest names competing, he would have felt confident of putting in a good performance.

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