A freak injury while playing tennis with his children on holiday has forced former Open champion, Darren Clarke out of this week’s Masters at Augusta.
Clarke (pictured) suffered a tear to his hamstring while on holiday on the Bahamian island of Abaco two weeks ago leaving him absent from the first major of the season.
The popular Northern Ireland sports star had pulled out of last week’s Texas Open - in which compatriot Rory McIlroy finished second - in the hope that further rest would speed his recovery, but intensive treatment twice a day failed to have the required results.
The 44-year-old, who missed the cut at Augusta last year on his first appearance since 2007, announced his decision via his official website stating: “It is with deep regret that I will not be able to play at Augusta this year.
“Playing in The Masters is one of golf’s greatest pleasures and I am disappointed to be missing out.”
Later Clarke said: “I was playing tennis with the kids about two weeks ago and that is when I picked up the tear on my hamstring.
“It was just one of those freak injuries which is really disappointing.
“I have done absolutely everything to be at Augusta; physio, ultrasound and icing, but I cannot physically turn through shots and there is no point in going to the Masters if you are not one 100 per cent fit.
“Understandably, I am absolutely gutted not to be there but I hope to be fit enough to be back in action in the Ballantine’s Championship on the European Tour in a couple of weeks’ time.”