TADWORTH, England (AP) — Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke failed to qualify for a major championship for the first time in 10 years when he did not earn one of nine spots available Monday in a European qualifier for the U.S. Open.
Clarke, who went 3-0 last year in the Ryder Cup while playing a month after his wife died of cancer, shot 75-72 at Walton Heath, at least eight shot more than he needed to qualify for Oakmont.
The U.S. Open starts June 14. The field was to be finalized Monday with 12 other sectional qualifiers across the United States. Most of the PGA Tour players were in Columbus, Ohio. (Complete results are available at usopen.com.)
The qualifier at Walton Heath was mainly for European Tour players.
Nick Dougherty, Peter Hanson and Darren Fichardt led the way at 8-under 136. The other six spots went to Miguel Rodriguez, Marcus Fraser, Graeme McDowell, Sam Walker, Christian Cevaer and Soren Kjeldsen.
Also failing to qualify were Ryder Cup teammates Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jimenez, along with Jean Van de Velde, who now will try to qualify for the British Open at Carnoustie, where the Frenchman found fame for his triple bogey on the last hole in 1999.
Clarke is trying to raise his two sons, but he also suffered a hamstring injury while playing with them and is starting to recover.
“The current state of my game is not good enough for the U.S. Open anyway, so it is maybe not such a bad thing,” he said. “I’m working hard, but it’s not happening for me at the moment.”
The only majors Clarke missed in the last 10 years were the PGA Championship last year, the 2005 U.S. Open and the 1998 PGA Championship for health or family reasons. The last time he was not eligible for a major was the 1997 Masters.