Major champions withdraw from US PGA

Wanamaker Trophy 2019

When the US PGA Championship takes place next week, it will do so without major winners Padraig Harrington and Francesco Molinari.

Harrington, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, has announced that he will be skipping the rescheduled first major of the season due to concerns over COVID-19. 

Molinari, the 2018 Open champion, has not, as yet, provided a reason for his withdrawal. 

The pair have been replaced in the field by American duo Talor Gooch and Troy Merritt.

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Explaining his decision, 2008 US PGA champion Harrington said: "After much deliberation, I have decided not to travel to next week’s PGA Championship.

“As COVID-19 currently looks to be under control in Ireland, I am taking the prudent approach by following the guidelines and reducing the risk as much as possible by staying at home.

“I’m sure I’ll be watching every shot on TV with great interest and hopefully I’ll have many more years to play in the PGA Championship.”

Harrington and Molinari are the latest big-name Europeans to skip the tournament. English pair Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell had previously confirmed they would not be taking their places in the field. 

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The US PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May, is the first of three rescheduled men's majors on the calendar this year. 

It will be played behind closed doors and will see Brooks Koepka attempt to become the first player in the strokeplay era of the competition - and just the second overall - to win the title three years in a row.

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