Dougherty pulls out of Spanish Open to visit father for help fixing his game

nick Dougherty
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Nick Dougherty has missed nine straight cuts to start the 2011 season.
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PA Sport

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Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | 12:34 p.m.

England's Nick Dougherty, yet to make a single penny in nine European Tour starts this year, has pulled out of this week's Spanish Open and flown to Florida in the hope that his father can help bring an end to his nightmare.

The 28-year-old former Ryder Cup hopeful, who has tumbled to 506th in the world from a high of 46th just three years ago, made the decision after a second-round 82 in Korea last Friday condemned him to another weekend off. It was Dougherty's fourth round in the 80s this season, and only once so far has he broken 70.

The three-time winner also missed two events after fracturing a wrist when he slipped over in a shower in February, and then went down with food poisoning on his return.

"I have been talking to my dad, picking his brains about the basics he taught me so many years ago, trying to resurrect my old swing and I feel things are gradually getting better," Dougherty said on his website before his trip to Korea. "But if there is no big improvement this week at the Ballantine's Championship or at next week's Spanish Open then I am going to fly over to Orlando, where he bases himself at this time of year, and spend some time with him before the BMW at Wentworth."

The 82 convinced Dougherty to act immediately rather than wait any longer. He is due back in action in Majorca next week.

Married on New Year's Eve to Sky Sports golf presenter Di Stewart -- Prince Harry and Zara Phillips were among the guests -- Dougherty is actually on a run of 10 successive missed cuts going back to last November.

In February, when ranked at 375 in the world, he said "the only way is up" but has since tumbled a further 131 places on the rankings and doesn’t even warrant a place on the 2011 European Tour money list because he has still to earn anything.

His two-year exemption for winning the BMW International Open in Germany runs out at the end of this season, and as things stand his career earnings of almost $9 million will not save him from a return to Q-School. Only the top 40 on that list are made exempt for the following year and he currently stands 48th.