SPIJK, Netherlands (AP) -- Defending champion Thomas Pieters, a captain's pick in the European Ryder Cup team, pulled out of the KLM Open on Thursday after suffering an allergic reaction to a bee sting.
The 24-year-old Belgian had been scheduled to play at The Dutch course in Spijk, but organizers said he would not tee off. His withdrawal came three weeks before the Ryder Cup starts at Hazeltine.
"One bee sting on Monday during the golf challenge against Joost Luiten led to a major allergic reaction with flu symptoms, and forced me to pull out of my favorite tournament of the year," Pieters said in a statement posted on his website and social media accounts.
Pieters finished fourth at the Olympics and birdied the last three holes to win the Made in Denmark tournament last month, making him difficult for captain Darren Clarke to ignore as he pondered his wildcard choices. Pieters will be one of six Ryder Cup rookies on a European team seeking an unprecedented fourth straight victory in golf's prestigious team event.