Stricker and Poulter pull out of New Orleans event

HOUSTON (Reuters) - American world number three Steve Stricker and sixth-ranked Briton Ian Poulter withdrew from the New Orleans Classic on Wednesday, depriving the PGA Tour event of its top two players.

Stricker pulled out with a shoulder injury while Englishman Poulter cited a left knee injury, organizers said.

In their absence, Australian Mark Hensby and American Billy Mayfair have been given places in the field.

Stricker, who clinched his eighth PGA Tour victory at the Northern Trust Open in February, ends an 11-year run of competing in New Orleans.

The tournament, held at the TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana, starts Thursday.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ed Osmond/Ian Ransom)