Wood joins professional ranks

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The Independent Online

Chris Wood, the 20-year-old amateur from Bristol who finished joint fifth at the Open eight days ago, has decided to turn professional. Wood has signed for the International Sports Management group and becomes a stablemate of Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and David Howell, as well as last year's Open silver medal winner Rory McIlroy.

After taking a week to consider his future, the 6ft 5in Wood said: "Royal Birkdale was the best week of my life and now I am looking forward to an equally exciting and successful future in the professional ranks. If I was going to play amateur golf for another year, I'm not sure that I would be in a better position than I am now. I played with Darren Clarke yesterday and I've spoken to another two professionals and they've all said that I'll be a better player after a year on the tour."

Wood has already received an invitation to the Quinn Insurance British Masters at The Belfry from 25 to 28 September. His management company are the promoters of that event.

McIlroy made his professional debut there last season and a week later came third in the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

Luke Donald will, as feared, miss next week's US PGA Championship as well as this week's Bridgestone World Championship. Donald, whose participation in September's Ryder Cup is in doubt, has been out of action with a wrist injury since withdrawing from the US Open during his final round on 15 June.

A statement on 11 July talked of him having "at least the next three to four weeks" off and it has now been confirmed that the 30-year-old is not ready for a return at the final major of the year.

The European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo said last week: "He would need a very quick recovery to get to the US PGA, but you can't come back from a wrist injury too early because it will flare up again."