Dubai: The DP World Tour Championship field in Dubai was whittled down to 56 players before Thursday’s start of play, after Ireland’s Shane Lowry was forced to withdraw through illness.
It follows injury pull-outs from Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen, who are both laid low with respective neck and back injuries, while Ross Fisher has decided to focus instead on next week’s qualifying school for the PGA Tour.
Lowry said: “I picked up a virus at the start of the week, which then led to me becoming very sick and dehydrated. I went to the hospital yesterday where they put me on a drip. That actually helped, but when I came off the drip and left the hospital I became sick again and haven’t been able to keep re-hydrating to keep the recovery going overnight.
“Obviously I am gutted to have been forced to withdraw from the tournament. It is such a big week and a great event. But, given the way I feel right now, there is just no way I could have played golf today. I honestly couldn’t even stand up on the tee, never mind play 18 holes.
He went on: “As I said, it is just so disappointing to miss out on the tournament because I have been playing great for the last couple of months and was looking to end the season on a real high, but such is life. With the best will in the world, there is simply no way I would have been able to compete.”
Lowry is currently 23rd in the Race to Dubai ahead of 24th-placed Bjorn, while Fisher and Goosen are 34th and 39th respectively. Even if they had played and finished last at this weekend’s tournament, they would have still been in line for prize-winnings of $22,400 (Dh82,275) of the $8 million total purse. The per centage breakdown of the prize-fund doesn’t adapt to cater for retirements, meaning the winner still picks up $1.3 million and all positions thereafter take their original per centage cut.