Paul Lawrie has pulled out of his Andalucia Open title defense this week because of illness -- and that could leave him sweating out a place in the Masters next month.
Lawrie is currently 45th in the world. At the end of next week, the top 50 earn invitations to the opening major of the year.
Lawrie, who has not played at Augusta National since 2004, almost withdrew from last week's WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami.
"I haven't been feeling too well this week, but last night I was up coughing most of the night," he wrote on his website blog on Sunday.
"I was going to pull out today until I found out you have to complete four rounds for the money to count on the Order of Merit and Ryder Cup points, so I decided to cough and splutter my way round, eventually shooting 77."
That dropped him into a tie for 60th in the 74-man field and meant he didn’t pick up any world ranking points.
Lawrie won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters last month and is currently fifth in the race for places on the European Ryder Cup team. He last played in the Ryder Cup in 1999 -- the year he won the British Open, of course, from an amazing 10 strokes behind with a round to play.
European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal, meanwhile, also has withdrawn this week. Plagued by rheumatic pains for the best part of two decades, he has a foot injury.