Olazabal pulls out of Open

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The Independent Online
The Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, who has not played tournament golf since last Sept- ember because of rheumatoid arthritis in his feet, yesterday withdrew from next week's Open championship at Royal Lytham.

The Royal and Ancient club secretary, Michael Bonallack, said: "We are sorry about his continuing problems but, having talked with his manager [Sergio Gomez], there is cause for optimism and we hope he will continue to improve.

"Jose Maria has tried everything to be fit in time, playing three times a week, but not on consecutive days, and after 12 or 13 holes he starts to have problems."

Olazabal, 30, was in hospital three weeks ago to have a metal staple removed from the big toe which was shortened at the start of last year. Examinations then showed that there was no deterioration in his arthritic condition.

Gomez added: "Jose Maria is continuing to make progress, but not quite enough.

"He's now missed the first three majors this year, but we won't make a decision on the fourth just yet. We have to wait and see." The US PGA championship is in Kentucky from 8 to 11 August.