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Graeme McDowell was trying to qualify for the British Open. Then Air France lost his clubs.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell during last week’s Open de France. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell seemed to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the British Open this week. Three players in his Tuesday qualifier would get Open berths, and McDowell — once the world’s fourth-ranked player — had as bright a resume as anyone in the 72-man field. He had also been playing respectably in recent weeks, finishing tied for 37th in last week’s Open de France after an opening-round 68.

“It’s nice to come back and play well,” he said after that round, according to Golfweek. “The game’s been trending the right direction.”

“Game continues to trend in right direction,” he tweeted after the event.

The trend hit a major disruption this week, when McDowell’s qualifying effort was nixed. The cause? Air France misplaced his golf clubs en route to his qualifier at St Anne’s Old Links on England’s northwest coast.

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“Need assistance from ,” McDowell tweeted Monday. “Flew into Manchester last night from [Paris] and my golf clubs are untraceable. I have a 36 qualifier tomorrow for and really need my bag. Thanks in advance.”

If you’ve ever lost your bags, you probably know what happened next: Not much. McDowell included the hashtag “#help,” but no help was imminent.

“Clubs still not on way from Paris,” the 38-year-old from Northern Ireland tweeted later Monday, adding that his clubs were in “the black hole” known as Charles de Gaulle Airport, one of Europe’s busiest. Air France, he wrote, had been “very quiet on Twitter lately so no communication. Looking doubtful I will participate [Tuesday] @TheOpen qualifier.”

“Terrible time of the year for holiday makers losing bags,” he went on. “I’m certainly not any more important than the next person who has lost a bag, just happens to impact my livelihood this week. Customer service is so frustrating in this case for everyone.”

“Frustrating one,” he tweeted later, caught in the same customer service vortex that has made so many airline customers lose their wits. McDowell soon wrote that he needed to start “switching my brain” to this weekend’s Irish Open, where he could also qualify for the British Open by finishing in the top 10.

“Still need clubs!!!” he added. Which. Yeah.

A reader asked why he couldn’t just “rent some clubs and give it a go,” but McDowell wrote that he has “another event to get ready for this week, so have to cut my losses and start preparing.”

“Lots of you wanting to know why I don’t grab a set off the rack and give it my best shot,” he later wrote. “Of course I could do this, but wouldn’t be firing on all cylinders.”

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Almost 24 hours after his first tweet, McDowell finally heard back from Air France.

“Hello Graeme, we are sorry to hear that,” the airline wrote. “We are liaising with our Central luggage team and will reply here as soon as possible.”

“This is a fairly urgent matter as you can see from this article so appreciate you coming back to me,” McDowell replied, linking to one of many write-ups of his predicament.

“Hello Graeme, our team is doing its utmost to trace your bag and assist you here. We will keep you posted here,” the airline said, evidently lacking his urgency.

“My bag is in CDG,” McDowell wrote. “I just need to get it on a plane ASAP.”

Air France finally noted that an employee had gotten in touch with McDowell on the phone, providing him with further details. Alas, by this point it was far too late for McDowell to play in Tuesday’s qualifier.

“I have officially withdrawn from qualifying,” he wrote. “I cannot give 100% without my own equipment which has been mishandled by and must turn my attention to this weekend. Thanks for all the support.”

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