Jim Furyk, the world No 6, has been disqualified from the first of the FedEx Cup play-offs in the United States - a day before it has even started. Furyk was barred from the Barclays Classic tournament in New Jersey, which starts today, because he overslept and missed his 7.30am tee-off time in the curtain-raising pro-am.
The Ryder Cup star, who will win his seventh cap against Europe at Celtic Manor, Wales, in October, was third in the play-off standings, but will now have to wait and see how much his blunder affects him in the four-tournament series. Furyk set a wake-up call on his mobile phone, but the power ran out during the night. It has been a policy of the US Tour - and the women's circuit in America - that anyone failing to show for the pro-am will be disqualified from the event except when it is due to injury or a family emergency.
The PGA Tour website reported Furyk as saying: "I'm kicking myself. I have a way of climbing into situations that are all my fault. I've got no one to blame but myself." Slugger White, the circuit's vice president of rules and competition, said: "When things like that happen sometimes you think the worst ... worried some stuff happened on the road. "Thank goodness that wasn't what it was. We kept looking and kept trying to call.
"It is unfortunate. Knowing Jim as I do and we all do, he handled it extremely professionally and put all of the blame on himself. "He is a fan favourite and everybody likes him. He is a really good guy, but my hands are tied. "I am sure he will recover quite nicely next week and jump right in there again." European interest will centre on the performances of Paul Casey, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Justin Rose.
All four have elected to stay in the States rather than play the final Ryder Cup qualifying event in Scotland. They will all know by now not to leave their best until last on this occasion - the final round will be in progress when European captain Colin Montgomerie names his three wild cards. Meanwhile, Montgomerie confirmed he expected Lee Westwood, who is recovering from a calf muscle injury, to be fit for the Ryder Cup.