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Clarke withdraws from European Open

Former European Open winner Darren Clarke will not feature in this year's event at the K Club in Ireland, his management company said on Tuesday.

Clarke, champion at the K Club in 2001, is anxious not to over-play himself before this year's British Open and has had to take the tournament, from June 30 to July 3, off his schedule.

An International Sports Management spokesman said: "Darren has sent a personal letter to Dr Smurfit (owner of the K Club and chief tournament sponsor) expressing his regret at not being able to play.

"He is committed to his sponsor Barclays to play the Scottish Open the week before the (British) Open and he has a commitment in America before that.

"He has to take a week off, rather than play seven or eight weeks in a row, and it is unfortunate that that week off has to be during the Smurfit (European Open)."

Clarke holds the record at the course that will host next year's Ryder Cup, a 12-under-par 60 shot in 1999.

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