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Denmark out of World Cup as Bjorn withdraws

Thomas Bjorn, joint leader with a round to play at the Sun City Challenge in South Africa, has pulled out of next week's World Cup in Argentina - a move that has cost Denmark their place in the event.

Bjorn wants to rest a foot injury rather than fly to Buenos Aires and instead of a replacement being found to partner Steen Tinning, Denmark's spot has been given to Venezuela who finished first reserves in the qualifying tournament.

But the Danes will doubtless be able to argue that Wales Open winner Tinning and Anders Hansen, 53rd on the European Order of Merit this season, would have been a stronger team than Miguel Martinez and Cipriano Castro.

If Bjorn's withdrawal had come before the qualifying event, Italy would have been seeded and Denmark would have had to try and qualify. Instead, Emanuele Canonica and Massimo Scarpa finished two shots behind Venezuela.

Bjorn's withdrawal further weakens the field for the $1 million event- won last year by Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara.

The American pairing of Woods and David Duval will be red-hot favourites in the absence of Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Jesper Parnevik, Sergio Garcia, Michael Campbell, Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh and no fewer than eight leading Australians.

England have Jamie Spence and Brian Davis, Ireland are represented by 1997 winners Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, Scotland by Paul Lawrie and Gary Orr, and Wales, the only full-strength home nation, by Phillip Price and Ian Woosnam.

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