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Back spasms sideline Irwin

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- Three-time winner Hale Irwin dropped
out of the U.S. Open on Thursday with back spasms.

''I don't feel very good about what happened, of course,'' he
said. ''It's very disappointing. But I've got to take some time,
and give this aggravation a rest.''

He'll decide next week whether to play in the U.S. Senior Open
on June 26-29.

Irwin's back has been bothering him off and on for several
weeks, and he's been treating it with ice and electronic
stimulation. He felt fine early in the round, and didn't think it
was going to be a problem.

But his back ''seized up'' after his tee shot on the par-4 12th.
He did some stretches in hopes of loosening it up. But after
hitting an errant second shot that sailed a couple of hundred yards
left of the fairway, he called for medical attention.

He lay down on the back of a cart, pulling his knees up to his
chest to stretch for several minutes before being taken to the
course medical center.

''Nothing I could do,'' said Irwin, who was 1-over when he
withdrew.

A member of the Hall of Fame, the 58-year-old Irwin won the
1974, 1979 and 1990 U.S. Opens. He has 30 victories on the PGA Tour
and 37 as a senior, and his career earnings of almost $30 million
are second only to Tiger Woods.