VERSAILLES, France – Italian teenager Matteo Manassero withdrew from the pro-am at the French Open on Wednesday, a day after a golf ball hit his wrist while practicing.
Ian Poulter also pulled out of the pro-am because of an infected insect bite, and Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie decided not to risk further damaging his torn calf muscle.
Manassero said he was out playing the 11th hole at Le Golf National when he was hit on the hand by a ball.
“We called the group behind us through and one of the drives hit me – the ball didn’t bounce first it was full on ,” he said, pointing to a swelling at the base of the little finger on his left hand.
“It was very painful and although I came to the course today to practice, after hitting four or five shots with a six iron it was clear I could not play in the pro-am.
“I did not want to risk making the injury worse before the tournament. It is a very important one for me with big prizemoney.”
Since he turned professional at the start of May, the 17-year-old Manassero is allowed only a maximum of seven invites in which to earn enough money to earn his tour playing card for next year.
He has already used up four, making the cut each time and winning more than $61,000, but it is estimated he will need to win around $300,000 to avoid having to visit tour school in the late autumn.
“This week in France is very important to me for that reason, also I don’t want to miss a tournament when I feel I am playing well,” Manassero said.
Describing his pro-am withdrawal, Poulter said: “I was practicing at Woburn on Monday and got bitten on my right shin by a horsefly or something. It was swollen yesterday and when I put my hand in my pocket I felt a big lump on my groin and knew it wasn’t right.
“I went to the doctors, was given antibiotics and decided I was well enough to fly this morning, but that’s probably not done it any good.
“An English doctor here in Versailles said I should go and have an intravenous drip, but the French one did not think that was the right thing to do and has given me tablets. I’ll come up in the morning to see how it is before deciding about whether to play in the tournament.”