Imagine Golf Blogs

Big Names Set To Miss Open

Trio could miss out on event at Royal St Georges

Posted Jun 29, 2011 by Chris White

Woods could be forced to sit out another major

Three of the biggest names in world golf look set to miss next month’s Open Championship, as the prospects look better and better for the top British players. Tiger Woods, Michael Campbell and Jose Maria Olazabal all look set to miss out on the tournament at Royal St George’s, which starts on 14th July.

The British players are dominating the top of the world rankings at present, with Luke Donald leading the way from Lee Westwood and US Open winner Rory McIlroy, so the absence of any big name players is an added bonus as they approach the event with plenty of home support on their side.

Unsurprisingly, it is Woods’ expected absence that is making the news, with the former world number one still not 100% fit after the injuries he picked up at the Masters earlier this year. Woods has since dropped to number 17 in the rankings and is adamant that he will not return to golf until he is completely fit, which, if he still hasn’t hit a golf ball since May, is looking unlikely to be in time for the Open.

Woods went into the Players Championship at Sawgrass carrying the knee and achilles problems, and was forced to pull out after nine holes, and the three-time Open winner, who is now 35-years old, cannot be taking any chances with his fitness, particularly with his knee. It is the same knee that was operated on twice back in 2008, so further damage could cause greater problems for Woods. He is currently having treatment on two to three times a day to get fit for the tournament, but you can’t blame him for not rushing back.

Former US Open winner Michael Campbell is also in danger of missing out on the Open, having finished just outside the qualifying positions at the qualifying event at Prince’s. With 12 places at Sandwich on offer, 288 players were competing and Campbell, who made 12 consecutive appearances in the Open until missing the 150th event last year, lies just outside the qualifying places. He still has a vague hope of improving, however, with a number of rounds still incomplete having been cut short by rain.

Campbell has two final chances of qualifying for Royal St George’s. If he finishes in the top 5 at the French Open or in next week’s Scottish Open, the annual warm-up, then he will be taking his place on the first tee come 14th July.

Next year’s Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal was forced to pull out of the qualifying event at Littlestone through injury, so his place is also in doubt. The 45-year old Spaniard has struggled with arthritis throughout his career, and has also been forced to pull out of the French Open next week, meaning he, like Campbell, needs a top five finish at the Scottish Open in order to qualify for the major at Sandwich. Olazabal’s best finishes at an Open were in 1992 and 2005, where he finished third, and he last competed in an Open at the same Royal St George’s course, back in 2006.

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