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DILEMMA FOR CLARKE'S FRIENDS
11 Aug 2006

Darren Clarke, whose wife Heather died on Sunday, has urged many of his friends not to pull out of this week's US PGA Championship.

On hearing the news that Heather had lost her long battle against cancer, close friend Paul McGinley immediately withdrew from the fourth and final major of the year.

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, Ireland's Padraig Harrington and close friend Thomas Bjorn are among those believed to be wrestling with whether they could face playing at Medinah near Chicago, with Heather's funeral likely to be held this week in Portrush.

However, the Irish Independent reports Clarke saying: "Heather would have wanted them to play."

Those sentiments were echoed by Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam who, on hearing of the decision of McGinley which could ultimately cost him his place in the team, said: "Would Heather want Paul to do that? I can understand what he is doing. That's up to Paul, he is very close to the family."

However, contrary to some reports Lee Westwood has not withdrawn and is currently travelling to the event with the intention of playing.

The Worksop golfer will have Open runner-up Chris DiMarco and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell for company when he tees off on Thursday.

As is now traditional for the PGA, the year's three major winners - Phil Mickelson (Masters), Geoff Ogilvy and Tiger Woods (Open) - have been grouped together in the pick of the draw.

The threesome of Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and Fred Couples is a definite crowd pleaser but England's Paul Broadhurst may feel a little left out as he is playing alongside brothers Jay and Jerry Haas.

America's Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman will get a chance to watch one of Europe's top stars close up as he has been drawn with current Order of Merit leader David Howell.

Read more at Sporting Life

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