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Darren Clarke not concerned by PGA Tour card loss

Darren Clarke, whose playing schedule this year has been greatly affected by his wife Heather's battle with cancer, is not too concerned if he loses his PGA Tour card in the United States.

The 37-year-old Northern Irishman, who had to withdraw from last week's WGC-American Express Championship in San Francisco to be with his ailing wife, is now unable to commit to the mandatory 15 events for the U.S. season.

Clarke, in the field for this week's Madrid Open, was also forced to pull out of this week's PGA Tour stop, the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas.

"I phoned (PGA Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem but, at the end of the day, they've got a set of rules and I don't expect them to break them or bend them for me," he told a news conference at the Club de Campo on Wednesday.

"If it means I'm no longer a member, so be it.

"I can play almost a normal schedule because of my world ranking and, as long as things at home are okay, then I will be doing so," added the world number 18.

"I said that mine are slightly different circumstances, because I have tried to fulfil my commitments but, if I don't get a card, I won't bother."

Clarke has played 13 events on this season's PGA Tour, plus a further seven on the European Tour.

His on-off season, in which he has twice had to opt out of tournament golf for a month to be with his sick wife, has provided him with one unexpected bonus, however.

"Yes, it's a worry wondering how Heather is all the time but, because I've played so infrequently of late, every time I come out to play, I almost feel like a rookie I'm so keen to get out there," he said.

However, the occasionally volatile Clarke concedes he has had trouble keeping his temperament in check.

"It's difficult to keep control of my attitude at times," he said.

October 13, 2005

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