Paul McGinley has pulled out of the US PGA Championship following the death of close friend Darren Clarke's wife, denting his hopes of a Ryder Cup place.
Heather Clarke, aged 39, passed away peacefully at 2.15am yesterday in London's Royal Marsden Hospital after a long battle with breast cancer.
"Our two families are very much intertwined; Heather and Ali (McGinley's wife) were the best of friends and our kids are in the same class at school," McGinley said after a final-round 70 in the KLM Open in Zandvoor.
"I'm glad that round is over and I have pulled out of the US PGA to attend the funeral. "You don't ever want to see anybody go, you always hold out hope right to the last minute.
"It has been a tough ride for us all the last couple of years, but especially for Darren. He will have some issues to deal with now, but we will fully support him in any way we can."
McGinley is in the tenth and last automatic selection spot in Europe's Ryder Cup table and could be knocked down the table because of his decision not to go to the season's final major at Medinah.
It leaves him with just two more events - the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and BMW International in Munich, both of which he intends to play - to clinch his third cap and avoid the need for a wild card.
"Some things are more important than the Ryder Cup," added McGinley, who holed the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 and was unbeaten in the recordbreaking victory at Oakland Hills in 2004.
"It was not really a big decision, it was a decision I made quite easily and I'm not the one to have sympathy for."
Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam said he could understand McGinley's decision, but did add: "Would Heather want Paul to do that? I can understand what he is doing.
"That's up to Paul, he is very close to the family."