Clarke, Jaidee withdraw from U.S. Open at Oakmont
Darren Clarke has withdrawn from the 2016 U.S. Open field, the USGA announced Thursday.
Clarke, 47, of Northern Ireland said in a statement released by the USGA that his duties as the captain of the 2016 Ryder Cup European team will prevent him from participating in his 16th U.S. Open.
“I'm currently dedicating all of my time to our preparations for the Ryder Cup and unfortunately the U.S. Open is not the place to be when your game isn't 100 percent,” Clarke said in the statement. “I'm very sorry to miss Oakmont, but I'm sure it will be a brilliant week for everyone. I'll certainly be watching very closely.”
Clarke, who was exempt into the U.S. Open field for winning the 2011 Open Championship, recorded his best U.S. Open finish in 1999, when he tied for 10th. He last made the cut in a U.S. Open start in 2006.
Clarke will be replaced by Memphis sectional first alternate Thomas Aiken, who will make his second U.S. Open start. Aiken, 32, of South Africa is ranked No. 149 in the world and finished tied for 25th in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
The USGA also announced that Thongchai Jaidee has withdrawn from this year's U.S. Open for personal reasons.
Jaidee, 46, of Thailand was exempt into the field because of his top 60 standing in the Official World Golf Ranking. Replacing him in the U.S. Open field is Jeev Milkha Singh, 44, of India, the first alternate from the England sectional qualifier.
Milkha Singh has played in four U.S. Opens, including the 2007 Open at Oakmont Country Club, in which he finished tied for 36th.
The two withdrawals come two days after Tiger Woods announced he would not participate in this year's U.S. Open, which will run next Thursday through Sunday at Oakmont.