Boston (AFP) - New father Graeme McDowell, England's Paul Casey and injured American Jason Dufner withdrew Monday from this week's Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event of the season-ending US PGA Tour playoffs.
The top 100 players on the season points list advanced from last week's event in suburban New York to this week's tournament that starts Friday in Boston, which will again trim the field of contenders for the 30-man Tour Championship in two weeks.
Northern Ireland's McDowell, who ranks 40th on the list, withdrew because his wife, Kristin, gave birth to a daughter on Monday, the couple's first child.
"Thanks so much for all the well wishes," McDowell posted on Twitter. "Mum and baby girl are happy and healthy. Happiest moment of my life hands down."
Dufner had been suffering with a bulging disc in his neck that forced him to withdraw from the PGA Championship earlier this month after only 10 holes of his title defense.
He fell to 74th in the points standings after missing last week's event and only the top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship next week.
Casey also ensured he will not reach next week's event by pulling out of the Deutsche Bank, standing 85th in points after sharing 22nd place last week.
Three others have also withdrawn from this week's tournament -- American Dustin Johnson, who is 14th in points; Spain's Sergio Garcia, who stands 15th, and England's Justin Rose, who is 20th.
That leaves a field of 94 trying to crack the top 70.
Pairings from the Deutsche Bank will see the three points leader grouped together for the first two days, meaning British Open and PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy, the world number one from Northern Ireland, will be joined by American Hunter Mahan, who dethroned him from the points lead by winning Sunday at The Barclays, and American Jimmy Walker.
Americans Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk are in another group thanks to their respective fourth, fifth and sixth positions in the points race.
Australian Jason Day ranks seventh and will be joined by Americans Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.