Golf: Johnson will have test on stiff neck

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The Independent Online
TRISH JOHNSON missed practice for the second day running and will face a fitness test today to see if she can play in the opening foursomes and fourballs of the Solheim Cup tomorrow, writes Andy Farrell.

Johnson, one of the five members of the European team to have played in all four previous matches, woke up on Tuesday with a bad back, which had become a stiff neck yesterday.

"It is getting better and feels freer today," said Johnson, who has been receiving treatment from a local chiropractor. She restricted herself to some chipping and putting yesterday morning and wore a rain jacket with the collar up to protect her neck.

The team captain, Pia Nilsson, can replace a player up until this afternoon's opening ceremony. As Johnson qualified automatically, the replacement would be Maria Hjorth, the 24-year-old Swede who just missed out in the points list. As it happens, she would have been Nilsson's next pick.

"Maria scored a 66 in the final round of last week's tournament on Sunday but is moving into a new apartment in Phoenix this week," Nilsson said. "I have left a message for her and we know she can get a direct flight to be here in time but I am confident that Trish will be able to play."

The Americans, who have won three of the four matches to date, have no injury worries, but Tammie Green will only play once a day on Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village course as she is six months pregnant. "This is a tough course to walk so I think others will be hoping only to play once a day, too," Green said.

So far Green's pregnancy has not affected her golf. "My weight shifts a little bit now and then, depending on what side the baby's on," she said. "It's a little different, but I've been playing well."

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