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Bubba Watson said Sunday he will not play in the Open Championship next week after having direct exposure with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Watson explained the decision further in a statement on Twitter.
The 42-year-old Watson is the latest high-profile player to pull out of the tournament after the 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama withdrew Saturday because of a recent COVID-19 diagnosis, Bleacher Report reports.
Matthew Wolff, Danny Lee and K.H. Lee have also pulled out of the tournament.
ESPN’s Bob Harig obtained a copy of the “Player Information Update” sent to golfers competing in the Open Championship two weeks ago and noted that players will face far stricter COVID-19 protocols at the Open Championship than they have at recent tournaments in the U.S.
All players will be tested for COVID-19 upon arriving for the tournament regardless of their vaccination status, and they aren’t allowed to go to restaurants, pubs or grocery stores once there. Any player deemed to have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can be disqualified from the tournament regardless of whether they test positive themselves.
Watson is a two-time Masters champion, and he has also posted top-five finishes at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Bleacher Report writes.
The British Open has been a challenge for Watson over the years, and of the 11 times he has played in the Open Championship, he has missed the cut on five occasions.
The 2021 Open Championship will emanate from Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England, next week, marking the first time the Open Championship has been held since 2019 due to the pandemic.