Golf: Illness forces Swede to pull out

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The Independent Online
Sweden were forced to pull out of the World Cup after Per-Ulrik Johansson again felt unwell on Saturday night. Meanwhile Ireland looked to be taking control of the Ocean Course, as Andy Farrell reports from Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Alas, poor Per-Ulrik Johansson. The Ryder Cup star is unlikely to play again this year after withdrawing from the World Cup and ending Sweden's challenge for a second victory before the final round even got under way.

While his partner, Joakim Haeggman, soldiered on in the individual competition, Johansson flew home to Stockholm to consult his doctor after suffering a second dizzy spell in three days on Saturday night.

Johansson, 30, has until tomorrow to confirm whether he will take his place in the US Tour Qualifying School next week, but he was doubtful about attempting to claim his US playing card in any case. He was already favouring the Colin Montgomerie route of playing on invitations around the American majors, but keeping his base in Europe.

The Swede was taken to a Charleston hospital and kept in overnight. Doctors, who suspect a bronchial problem, said he could play if he felt better in the morning, but the decision was taken at 1am that Johansson should retire.

"Per-Ulrik is worried because he does not know what the problem is," said Nick Green, who is not only Johansson's personal manager but also managing director of Parallel Sport, the promoters of the World Cup. "The doctors don't have too much of an idea, but do not suggest it is anything serious. Per is very disappointed not to be playing because Sweden felt they had a very good chance of winning."

After three rounds, Sweden were lying fourth on 17 under par, seven behind the leaders, Germany, who were leading by two from Ireland and by four from Scotland. Haeggman, who is intending to play in the US Qualifying School, was 10 under par, 10 adrift of the individual leader, Alex Cejka.

The Ocean Course at the very tip of the island may not be quite as defenceless as the Old Course at St Andrews without any wind, but the Czech-born German was making it look that way as he added a 65 to his first-round 63 on Saturday. With his partner, Sven Struver, also helping out with a 67, Germany looked to be opening a huge lead. But the Irish pair of Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington suddenly made ground as they both came home in 32 to pick up eight shots.

All week they have been the team who have combined best and when both birdied the third and the fourth, they vaulted themselves into the lead. Cejka, however, had lost his magic touch. Although he birdied the second, he suffered his second and third bogeys of the week at the fourth and seventh as Germany moved backwards.

Montgomerie closed in on Cejka in the individual stakes with a couple of early birdies, but Raymond Russell's double bogeys at the seventh and ninth virtually ended their hopes of a first World Cup win for the Scots.

What was entirely predictable was a last-day charge by the home team. Davis Love eagled the second and went to the turn in 31, while the Open champion, Justin Leonard, also picked up a couple of shots to bring the Americans back into contention.

WORLD CUP OF GOLF (Kiawah Island, S Carolina) Leading third-round scores: 408 Germany (S Struver 70 75 67, A Cejka 63 68 65). 410 Ireland (P Harrington 71 67 68, P McGinley 66 70 68). 412 Scotland (R Russell 66 72 74, C Montgomerie 68 66 66). 415 Sweden (P-U Johansson 64 74 71, J Haeggman 66 70 70). 416 Spain (I Garrido 67 67 69, M A Martin 68 74 71); United States (D Love 65 69 74, J Leonard 72 69 67). 420 New Zealand (M Long 69 75 67, G Waite 70 70 69). 421 England (P Broadhurst 68 74 68, M James 68 73 70); South Africa (E Els 73 68 69, W Westner 68 71 72). 424 Wales (I Woosnam 74 72 69, P Price 72 68 69).