Golf: Ballesteros out of US PGA

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The Independent Online
SEVE BALLESTEROS'S troubled season continued yesterday when he was diagnosed as suffering from bronchitis. The Spaniard started feeling unwell after slumping to a final-round 77 in the Scandinavian Masters eight days ago and decided then to pull out of this week's US PGA championship in Toledo, Ohio.

His wife Carmen said yesterday from their Pedrena home: 'He didn't want to go to America for a mixture of reasons, but it's a good job he didn't travel. He went to the doctor this morning and was told to go to bed.'

It is the second year running that Ballesteros, without a win for 17 months, has withdrawn from the final major championship of the season. He missed the trip to Bellerive last August because of back trouble and general unhappiness with his form.

The slump is still not over and Ballesteros is now relying on a wild-card invitation from the captain, Bernard Gallacher, if he is to play in next month's Ryder Cup. He currently lies 38th in the points table and 71st in this season's Order of Merit.

He is not due to play again until the Canon European Masters in Switzerland in three weeks' time, but his wife said that he is considering entering the preceding week's German Open. That is the last event in the cup race, yet even if he was to win the pounds 108,000 top prize he would not climb into the top nine who receive automatic selection.