Hunter Mahan has withdrawn from his second straight tournament, backing out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Monday, according to Brian Wacker of PGATour.com. Mahan made the news of the weekend at the RBC Canadian Open, withdrawing while holding the 36-hole lead just minutes before departing the driving range to start his third round on Saturday. Wacker confirmed that Mahan, unsurprisingly, is planning to be back on Tour next week for the season's final major, the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
Holding a two-shot lead, Mahan was set to tee off on Saturday afternoon at Glen Abbey. While warming up on the range, he got word that his wife, Kandi, had gone into labor. He would have already been out on the course if not for a rain delay that lasted over an hour earlier in the day. About 13 hours later, after jetting from Toronto to Dallas, Mahan was a new father. He made the announcement Sunday morning on Twitter:
What a whirlwind of a day, but I'm happy to announce the birth of my daughter Zoe Olivia Mahan born at 3:26 am. Thanks for all the support!— Hunter Mahan (@HunterMahan) July 28, 2013
Given that he was leading by two shots, it's one of the more wild WDs you'll see on the PGA Tour. Brandt Snedeker, another top-flight American golfer, was the biggest beneficiary as he took control of the tournament on the weekend's final 36 holes. Snedeker said after his win that the newborn would be getting a nice gift as a thanks for the early arrival (via the AP):
"Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me," Snedeker said. "I can't thank Kandi enough for going into labor early. I don't know if I'd be sitting here if she hadn't. But that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born, and it was the best decision I ever made. I'm sure Hunter would say the same thing."
Mahan's wife went into labor about a month before the scheduled due date. It would have been a much more challenging circumstance for Mahan had it been last week, when he was across the pond and set to play in Sunday's final group at the British Open.
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is one of the late-season marquee events on the Tour, and it's a tournament that Mahan has won in the past. His 2010 victory at Firestone was his biggest career highlight to date, and he added another WGC title, the Accenture Match Play title, last year in Arizona.
Wacker noted that Mahan's spot in the field will not be filled by an alternate. Mahan, who has played in the final Sunday pairing in each of the last two majors, will pass on Akron but should be a go for the PGA in Rochester next week.