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Daly withdraws from Open

American John Daly, the 1995 Open champion, said on Thursday he would not be playing in this year's event at Carnoustie, beginning next week.

The burly American, a reformed alcoholic, sent a message to the organisers confirming his withdrawal, which he threatened on Sunday when he withdrew from this week's Loch Lomond event after finishing second-last in the Irish Open at Druids Glen.

He returned home to Memphis.

His message to the organisers, the Royal and Ancient Club, said: "After long thought and consideration I have decided to withdraw. I have been struggling with my confidence of late and I think it is best for me to take a break from competitive golf and hopefully return with a more positive attitude."

He wished the organisers the best of luck with the championship and said he was looking forward to returning for next year's event at St. Andrews, where he won his title in 1995.

Fellow Americans Ben Crenshaw and Time Kite had earlier withdrawn from the Open.

Daly was paid a reported 100,000 pounds ($155,600) to play in Ireland last week and played well for two rounds before a third round of 81, including an eight on a par five and a seven on a par four.

It was the latest in a series of golfing misadventures for the 33-year-old American. He took a seven-over-par 11 on the eighth hole of the final round at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst - and then vowed never to play in the event again.

Prior to that, he scored a 10 with six putts on the last hole of the first round at the Memorial tournament and promptly withdrew.

At Bay Hill in Florida last year, he took an 18 on one hole trying - and failing - repeatedly trying to hit across a lake, perhaps the worst of his many disasters.

Big-hitting Daly, hugely popular wherever he plays ever since he crashed on to the scene by winning the 1991 U.S. PGA title, was part of the 1998 U.S. Alfred Dunhill Cup team and won all four of his matches as his team reached the semifinals.

As well as battling alcohol problems - he has not had a drink in more than two years - Daly has also been a considerable consumer of hamburgers and chocolate.

He has also had a gambling problem, reporting recently that he had lost $9 million.

  Reuters