Golf: Darcy backs out

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EAMONN DARCY has been forced out of the Madeira Open, the first event of the 1993 European Tour, which starts today at Funchal. The 40-year-old Irishman has a back injury.

Darcy, who is keen to regain his Ryder Cup place this season after missing out on the last match by a mere pounds 58.26 in the money list, said yesterday: 'I think I hurt it playing at Portmarnock last week.'

'I had to quit after three holes of practice on Tuesday and, despite a cortisone injection and physio, a doctor has said I would be unwise to play. He has advised me to go home and have treatment.'

Five members of the 1991 Ryder Cup side go straight into action in Madeira, though the top names - Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Seve Ballesteros - will be missing.

Steve Richardson, Sam Torrance, Mark James, David Gilford and Paul Broadhurst are all seeking a pounds 41,660 winning start to the year and the main opposition is likely to come from Ronan Rafferty, the former European No 1, and Jamie Spence.

Spence, captain of England's victorious Dunhill Cup side in October, would jump from seventh to second in the Ryder Cup points table - it opened last September with him winning the European Masters - by lifting the title here.