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Chris DiMarco out with rib injury

American Chris DiMarco pulled out of the Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass on Wednesday after injuring a rib muscle.

DiMarco, the world number 11, sustained the injury on holiday with his family in Colorado over the weekend, PGA Tour officials said.

The injury worsened when he practised at his home course in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, forcing his withdrawal from the tournament unofficially dubbed the fifth major.

DiMarco, who won the European Tour's inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January, has been replaced by PGA Tour rookie Camilo Villegas of Colombia.

"I can't control what's going on but I was definitely preparing myself to play this week and hopefully have a fun week," the 24-year-old Villegas told reporters.

The fashion-conscious Colombian, a darling of the crowds and one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour, was eating lunch when he learned he had made the 144-strong field as the first alternate.

Twice a runner-up on the 2006 Tour, he lies 15th in the money list with $862,931 and needs to climb into the top 10 by Sunday to qualify for next month's U.S. Masters.

"I can't control numbers out there," Villegas added. "I can only control one shot at a time, look at my target and hit it. If it's going to happen, we'll find out.

"I hope I have a good week but I'm not too worried about it."

Villegas is scheduled to tee off at 0824 local time (1324 GMT) in Thursday's opening round with Britain's Nick Faldo and South Africa's Rory Sabbatini.

March 23, 2006


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