The PGA Championship next week will go on without Francesco Molinari and Padraig Harrington, a pair of former major champions who withdrew from the event at TPC Harding Park on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Neither gave a reason for pulling out of the event, which serves as the first major championship of the year.
Harrington, the European Ryder Cup Captain, won the PGA Championship in 2008 and twice won The Open Championship, in 2007 and in 2008. His last event was in March before the sports world stood still amidst the pandemic, when he missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Molinari's last event came at the WGC-Mexico Championship where he finished T53. He missed the cut in the three outings preceding that finish.
Molinari announced in early July that he and his family, after 11 years, are leaving London and the UK and moving to California. But while the announcement said that's what has kept him away from tournament golf, he concluded his note by saying, "The hope is to be back for the U.S. PGA in August."
He ranks 33rd in the World Golf Rankings, leaving the PGA Championship without five of the world's top-100 golfers. Lee Westwood, Shugo Imahira, Thomas Pieters and Eddie Pepperell have already withdrawn from the event.
Talor Gooch and Troy Merritt have been inserted as Molinari and Harrington's replacement for the PGA Championship. Gooch finished top-25 at both the Workday Charity Open and the 3M Open last weekend. Merritt, who missed the cut at the 3M and the Memorial Tournament, finished T22 at the Workday Charity Open and T8 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July.