Webb Simpson out of Open, wife to give birth
Reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson withdrew from the Royal Lytham field as expected on Friday because his wife is due to give birth in two weeks' time.
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England (PA) -- For the second time in five years, the Open Championship will not have the reigning US Open champion playing in it as Webb Simpson withdrew from the Royal Lytham field as expected on Friday because his wife is due to give birth in two weeks' time.
In 2008, Tiger Woods was unable to play at Birkdale after he underwent reconstructive knee surgery immediately after his 14th major victory at Torrey Pines.
Simpson indicated straight after his win in San Francisco last month that he did not see himself flying over the Atlantic.
He joins Australian Jason Day and 1998 winner Mark O'Meara in pulling out of next week's event. Day's wife has just given birth, while O'Meara has not played since March because of a rib injury.
"I'm a guy who loves my family and we're probably only going to have a couple more babies, so I have the rest of my life to play in the British Open," Simpson said two weeks ago. "I don't want to miss the birth of the second child, so it's an easy decision.
"After winning it's certainly a little harder not to go because I'd love to go and try to win another major, but in the grand scheme of things and grand scheme of life it's a decision that I know I'll always be happy that I made," he added. "The first experience watching my first son being born was one of the greatest experiences I think a person can have -- and I don't want to miss it again."
Ben Crane, 54th in the world, is first alternate but still does not have a place in the event despite this week's three withdrawals. That is because there could be more than the standard 156 players either exempt or qualified by the conclusion of the Scottish Open and John Deere Classic this weekend.
There are currently 155 in the field, but the leading non-exempt player at Castle Stuart and in Illinois -- providing they finish in the first five on Sunday -- also earn spots.
Day pulled out on Tuesday after his wife gave birth to their first child, and Day has decided to stay at home with his son new Dash.