Qatar Masters: Darren Clarke withdraws through injury

Darren Clarke has pulled out of the Qatar Masters due to an injury.

The setback means the Northern Irishman cannot fulfil hopes of making his 500th European Tour appearance in the event, which got underway on Wednesday.

The injury is said to be a pulled muscle which has prevented him from competing at the event, a major blow to the man who has shed more than three stone in weight in an attempt to rekindle the form that saw him win the Open Championship in 2011.

Clarke was due to play alongside defending champion Chris Wood and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez in the first two rounds of this week’s tournament.

Clarke’s replacement is Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, who earned his card through qualifying school last year.

The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Clarke, who has failed to record a top-ten finish on Tour since winning at Royal St George’s two-and-a-half years ago. He is currently ranked 277th in the World Rankings.