Subscribe to RSS feed for News Darren Clarke (l) wants his friends to play at Medinah, but Paul McGinley (r) has withdrawn to be with the Clarke family. (Photo: Getty Images)
Darren Clarke (l) wants his friends to play at Medinah, but Paul McGinley (r) has withdrawn to be with the Clarke family. (Photo: Getty Images)

Notebook: Clarke urges his friends to go ahead and play

Several top European stars considered pulling out of the PGA Championship to attend Heather Clarke's funeral until Darren Clarke said that Heather would have wanted them to play. Plus, several alternates make the field, and more. news services

MEDINAH, Ill. -- Darren Clarke, whose wife Heather died on Sunday, has urged many of his friends not to pull out of this week's PGA Championship.

On hearing the news that Heather had lost her long battle against cancer early Sunday morning, fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, Ireland's Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood of England and
Thomas Bjorn of Denmark were among those believed to be wrestling with whether they could face playing at Medinah, with Heather's funeral likely to be held this week in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

However, "Heather would have wanted them to play," Clarke told the Irish press.

McGINLEY'S OUT: Paul McGinley of Ireland, however, has dropped out of the PGA Championship after Heather Clarke's death to remain with the Clarkes, and his withdrawal has opened up a spot for Daniel Chopra. The native of Sweden is 72nd on the money list with earnings of $805.072 in 24 starts this year.

"Our two families are very much intertwined, obviously me and Darren out here, but Heather and Ali [McGinley's wife] were the best of friends and our kids are in the same class at school," McGinley said. "It is a tough, tough time for us all."

McGinley currently occupies the 10th and final automatic qualifying place in the European Ryder Cup standings, but could drop down the table. He has just two more events -- the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and BMW International in Munich, both of which he intends to play -- to try and secure his spot.

MOORE IS IN: Dean Wilson's victory at The International on Sunday was good news for Ryan Moore. The PGA Championship had been holding a spot for the International winner, but since Wilson was already in the field at Medinah, the spot went to Moore.

Moore, a PGA Tour rookie, is trying to salvage his season after missing several weeks in the wake of surgery on his left hand in March. He is currently 114th on the PGA Tour money list with earnings of $529,508.

FRAZAR IS IN: Harrison Frazar has joined the PGA Championship field, replacing Chris Starkjohann.

Starkjohann, a PGA Professional at the Hodges Golf Center in Escondido, Calif., recently turned 50 and has qualified for this week's Boeing Greater Seattle Classic on the Champions Tour. He had qualified for the PGA Championship by virtue of his high finish in the recent PGA Professional National Championship.

Frazar has earned $474,975 in 21 PGA Tour starts so far in 206, and is 127th on the money list.

BROADHURST NEEDS A BOOST: Paul Broadhurst has lost his place in the world's top 50 -- and unless he grabs it back this week at the PGA Championship, his hopes of returning to Europe's Ryder Cup team will be hanging by a thread.

U.S. Captain Tom Lehman's second-place finish at The International
lifted him back into the top 50 and qualified him for next week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Broadhurst, just outside the top 10 in the European cup race, slips from 50th to 51st as a result of missing the halfway cut in Holland and so is still looking for a spot at what is the penultimate qualifying event for Ian Woosnam's side.

Bizarrely almost, if Sergio Garcia had played better in America over the weekend, Broadhurst would have been 10th in the points
heading to the PGA Championship. That is because Garcia had the chance to overtake Luke Donald on the world points list from which the first five European Ryder Cup places will be determined.

And since Donald is only 13th on the European points list from which the next five come, Paul McGinley would have moved up to ninth and Broadhurst to 10th.

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