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Hal Sutton withdraws from Open

World number 12 Hal Sutton on Thursday became the biggest name yet to pull out of The Open championship at Royal Lytham next week.

Sutton, fourth on the United States money list last season after pipping Tiger Woods to the prestigious Players' Championship, cited a recurring back problem for his withdrawal.

Sixth in the current American Ryder Cup standings, the 43-year-old former US PGA champion went from 1989 to 1998 without appearing in The Open.

He was 10th on his return to the event at Carnoustie two years ago but missed the halfway cut at St Andrews last summer.

Already out were fellow Americans Lee Janzen, Kirk Triplett and Notah Begay and Australian left-hander Nick O'Hern.

Another exempt player unable to play is Ireland's Christy O'Connor Jnr, the reigning British Seniors Open champion, whose leg was crushed when a motorbike fell on him earlier this year.


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