Clarke ruled out of the Masters

Former British Open champion to miss first major of the year through injury

 Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler walk down the second hole during an early practice round prior to the start of the 2013 US Masters.  Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler walk down the second hole during an early practice round prior to the start of the 2013 US Masters. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 16:48

Darren Clarke has been been forced to withdraw from this week’s US Masters after failing to recover from a hamstring injury.

The former British Open champion pulled a hamstring more than a week ago while on holiday on the Bahamian island of Abaco and will miss the season’s first major championship, which gets under way on Thursday.

“It is with deep regret that I will not be able to play at Augusta this year,” Clarke said on his official website. “Playing in The Masters is one of golf’s greatest pleasures and I am very disappointed to be missing out.”

Clarke pulled out of last week’s Valero Texas Open 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 from Portrush, who missed the cut at Augusta last year on his first appearance since 2007, has yet to set a date for his return to action.