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Parnevik adds to growing absentee list

Jesper Parnevik became the ninth eligible player to withdraw from the new $5 million World Golf Championship at Valderrama when he pulled out of the event on Tuesday.

The Swede notified organisers that he would not be playing but did not give a reason, officials said.

Full list of withdrawals (world ranking in brackets): David Duval (2), Mark O'Meara (11), Parnevik (18), Fred Couples (19), Masashi Ozaki (23), Steve Stricker (33), Lee Janzen (39), Greg Norman (51), Toshimitsu Izawa (83).

The tournament, starting on Thursday and worth $1 million to the winner, was open to the top 50 players in the world rankings, leading 30 on the U.S.Tour, best 20 in Europe and top three from the Japanese, Australasian and South African Tours if not otherwise eligible from the world list.

Norman, the most vocal advocate of a world tour before this year's new events were established, would have become eligible following the death of Payne Stewart in a plane crash last week. Stewart's name remains at number eight in the rankings.

But Norman, a former world number one, had said earlier he would not play.