McDowell pulls out of Open qualifier after losing clubs

Graeme McDowell is now 175th in the world rankings after being as high as four in 2011

Graeme McDowell has pulled out of Tuesday’s Open Championship qualifier at St Annes after losing his clubs following a flight from France.

The 2010 US Open champion appealed for help from Air France on Monday but his clubs failed to arrive at Manchester Airport.

“I cannot give 100% without my own equipment which has been mishandled by Air France,” said McDowell on Twitter.

McDowell will travel home to Ireland on Tuesday for this week’s Irish Open.

He will have further opportunities to secure his Carnoustie berth at the Ballyliffin event and next week’s Scottish Open with three spots available at both tournaments for the leading non-exempt players who secure top-10 finishes.

McDowell added: “Lots of you wanting to know why I don’t grab a set off the rack and give it my best shot to get in the Open.

“Of course I could do this but wouldn’t be firing on all cylinders and there are six spots up for grabs over the next two weeks.”

Earlier McDowell said that he had established that his clubs were “in the black hole known as Charles de Gaulle [Airport].”

The Northern Ireland player was travelling following the French Open where he finished in a share of 37th place.

McDowell had been scheduled to battle for three Open Championship spots along with 71 other players at the Blackpool venue on Tuesday.

He looked to have a good chance of progressing to the major at Carnoustie, with the St Annes field largely made up of little-known players, although European Tour winners Richard Green and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano will be teeing up.

At the peak of his career in early 2011, a little over six months after his US Open triumph at Pebble Beach, McDowell was ranked fourth in the world but he is now 175th after a number of lean seasons.

Speaking after the French Open on Sunday, a tournament he won in 2013 and 2014, McDowell insisted that his game was “continuing to trend in the right direction” after dropping as low as 239th in the rankings following a missed cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson event on the PGA Tour in May.

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BBC Sport – Golf

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