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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 August 2006, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Sad McGinley pulls out of USPGA
Paul McGinley
McGinley will not travel to Illinois for the USPGA
Paul McGinley has withdrawn from this week's USPGA Championship to attend the funeral of his friend and fellow Irishman Darren Clarke's wife Heather.

Heather Clarke, 39, lost her battle against breast cancer on Sunday.

McGinley's decision could hurt his chances of making the European team for next month's Ryder Cup near Dublin.

He currently holds the 10th and final qualifying place on Europe's points table with four events left to count, and could be overtaken.

McGinley, who holed the winning putt in the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry, spoke of his sadness before the final round of the KLM Dutch Open.

All players at the Kennemer Club wore black ribbons as a mark of respect.

We all just feel very sorry for Darren and his family at this time

Ian Woosnam

McGinley said: "Our two families are very much intertwined - Heather and Ali (McGinley's wife) were the best of friends and our kids are in the same class at school.

"You don't ever want to see anybody go, you always hold out hope right to the last minute. But boy she put up some battle.

"Darren will have some issues to deal with now, but we will fully support him in any way we can."

Ryder Cup Captain Ian Woosnam said: "All the guys out here on the Tour just feel very sorry for Darren and sorry for his family at this time.

"I just hope they can get over this as soon as possible."

George O'Grady, executive director of the European Tour, said: "Everyone connected with the Tour will be immensely saddened by this news.

"We extend out deepest sympathy, our thoughts and our prayers to Darren, (his sons) Tyrone and Conor and the families."

The USPGA Championship begins on 17 August at the Medinah Country Club near Chicago, Illinois.



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