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O'Meara out of British Open with elbow problem

Mark O'Meara of the U.S. watches his tee shot during the first round of the British Open golf Championship at Muirfield in Scotland

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Mark O'Meara of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the British …

(Reuters) - Former winner Mark O'Meara has withdrawn from next week's British Open because of an elbow problem, his agent said on Thursday.

O'Meara, 57, won the event in 1998 at Royal Birkdale to become the first player since Ben Hogan to win two majors in one year in his 40s. He was 41 when he won the Masters in the same year.

His agent, Peter Malik, said doctors had recommended rest after the problem flared at the Masters in April.

O'Meara was concerned that the firm links course turf at Royal Liverpool, where the Open starts on July 17, could do more damage and has decided to play the U.S. Senior Open this week at Oak Tree in Oklahoma.

He is replaced by England's Ross Fisher while David Hearn of Canada becomes the first reserve in case of further withdrawals.

(Reporting By Tony Goodson, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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