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The reason a European Ryder Cupper had to WD from the tourney where he's the defending champ really stings

September 08, 2016

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For as competitive as the Ryder Cup has become, the two sides don’t typically resort to dirty tricks to get a leg up on each other (this isn’t presidential politics, thankfully). And we’re not advocating that they start such practices. However, should the Americans be looking for a little extra advantage heading into Hazeltine National, they might have just stumbled on to something after one of Europe’s hottest players was forced to withdraw from this week’s KLM Open because of a ... bee.

Specifically, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, one of three captain’s picks made by Europe’s Darren Clarke, had to bow out in the Netherlands on Thursday—a tournament in which he’s the defending champion—after being stung during a practice round three days earlier. The sting, in turn, caused an allergic reaction that Pieters says led to flu-like symptoms that made it too difficult for him to compete in what he describes as his “favorite tournament of the year.”

Pieters’ recent performances helped him secure what was likely the last spot on Clarke’s 12-man squad. The 24-year-old has finished fourth in the Olympics last month, second at the Czech Masters and was a winner at the Made In Demark tournament two weeks ago. So long as he recovers in the next few days, he’ll likely get one more start in Germany before the Ryder Cup begins later this month.

Now that the U.S. knows what is Pieters’ kryptonite, does anybody have the name of a good bee-keeper in the Twin Cities?