Northern Irelands Darren Clarke drives a ball from the seventh tee during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Friday, July 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant
June 09, 2016

FAR HILLS, N.J. (AP) Darren Clarke has withdrawn from the U.S. Open because he says his Ryder Cup duties have kept him from preparing the right way.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand also withdrew Thursday, citing personal reasons.

Clarke was on the final year of his five-year exemption from winning the British Open at Royal St. George's in 2011. He was replaced by Thomas Aiken of South Africa, the first alternate from the sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thongchai was exempt from being in the top 60 in the world. He was replaced by Jeev Milkha Singh of India, the first alternate from the England qualifier.

Clarke says his role as European captain for the Ryder Cup has affected his performance on the golf course. He has made only two cuts in eight tournaments this year. His best was a tie for 43rd in the Irish Open.

Clarke says the U.S. Open is not the place to be when his golf game is not at its best. He has not made the cut at the U.S. Open in 10 years.

The U.S. Open starts June 16 at Oakmont.

Singh has not won since the 2012 Scottish Open and has fallen to No. 757 in the world.

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