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May 13 2011

8:31 PM

Defending champ Clark withdraws

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Defending PLAYERS champion Tim Clark just withdrew after 10 holes here in the second round, citing an elbow injury.

He was 2 over in the second round after shooting 74 Thursday. THE PLAYERS was just his fourth tournament of the 2011 season.

Clark has been suffering from tendonitis in the elbow since a runner-up finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii. This was his first start since last month’s Masters where he shot two 73s and missed the cut.

Clark still plans to stick around for Sunday's ceremony to crown the new PLAYERS champion. He said he wouldn’t have tried to play if it weren’t THE PLAYERS and the first title defense of the South African’s career.

“It’s been getting better for sure over the last couple weeks, but I had to test it out, see where I was, and it's not good enough to go right now,” Clark said. “I do feel like it's still going to progress and get better, so I'm hoping to be back obviously as soon as possible.”

Clark said he was disappointed at having to pull out, especially since he was "pain free" during Thursday's first round. The more shots he hit Friday, though, the more intense the pain.

"It's just been getting a little worse as the day went on,” Clark said. “I hit a shot out of the rough on 9, and I could feel it getting worse. There's just no point in staying. I tried as good as I can for two days.

“At the moment it's starting to get a little worse. I can see it's swollen right now, and there's no point.”

Clark won’t be playing in next week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, as planned., either. He had tied for second there twice in the last three years.

“II can't finish two rounds here, how am I going to finish two there?” Clark said. “But I'm going to go to Fort Worth and continue treatment with the guys. I'm just going to stay on top of it. I

“I can't get too despondent and down on myself. It has been getting better, which is a good sign, so I'm going to try and stay positive and keep working at it.”

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