Rib injury forces Player to miss Open No 47

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Gary Player yesterday withdrew from trying to qualifying for the Open because of a pulled rib muscle.

Gary Player yesterday withdrew from trying to qualifying for the Open because of a pulled rib muscle.

The 66-year-old, who lost his exempt status last year, had desperately wanted to make it 47 Opens in a row next week at Muirfield – the scene of his first major victory in 1959 – but did not even make it to Scotland.

"I am just devastated and cannot put into words my deep disappointment," the South African said. "I have been working especially hard and practising vigorously for many weeks with the goal of keeping my streak alive.

"I simply pushed myself too hard and ignored the early signs that something was wrong. I obviously aggravated what I thought was only a strain and would go away through exercise and practice.

"Muirfield was the site of my first major and not to compete is truly heartbreaking. I was so looking forward to putting myself to the test of the qualifying."

Player was to have attempted to qualify for one of seven places tomorrow and Monday at Gullane No 1 course near Muirfield. His other two Open victories were at Carnoustie in 1968 and at Royal Lytham in 1974.

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