Injured Clarke out of Qatar Masters

Darren Clarke’s 500th European Tour appearance has been pushed back after he was forced to withdraw from the Qatar Masters due to injury.

The 45-year-old was set to tee off alongside defending champion Chris Wood and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez in the first two rounds at the Doha Golf Club.

However, he withdrew from the tournament before his tee-off on Wednesday due to a “pulled muscle” and was replaced in the field by Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, who came through qualifying school last year.

“It’s disappointing Darren’s had to withdraw as the tour was looking forward to honoring his 500th tournament with a presentation before he teed off this morning,” tournament director David Probyn said.

“We will just have to wait now until Darren next competes in a European Tour event.”

Clarke revealed a few weeks ago that he feels a lot fitter after he lost quite a bit of weight after he adopted a new health and fitness programme that includes a low carb/no sugar/no alcohol diet over Christmas.

He was set to become only the fourth Irishman to reach the 500-event mark on the European Tour after Eamonn Darcy (610), Des Smyth (594) and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (545).