PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan spoke on Wednesday to discuss the positive COVID-19 tests that have turned up since the initial test involving Nick Watney last week. While he discussed the positive tests, indications are that the Travelers event will continue as Monahan said we need to live with the virus because it’s not going away.
Over the past several weeks, since the PGA Tour has returned, a couple of players and caddies have tested positive for COVID-19.
Nick Watney was the first positive test. His positive came last week just before the start of the RBC Heritage. Watney withdrew immediately after the test and everyone he was in contact with was also tested and returned negative results.
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) June 19, 2020
News ahead of the Travelers Championship was that Cameron Champ tested positive and will enter quarantine. Champ said he felt great physically and was “obviously surprised and disappointed to learn of the result.”
PGA TOUR statement on Cameron Champ WD: pic.twitter.com/ZeT0EAWhT0
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) June 23, 2020
Later news came that Graham McDowell’s caddie tested positive the team had decided to withdraw from the Travelers Championship.
“For the protection of the field and for my own physical and mental well-being, I’m going to take a test tomorrow morning then jump on a private plane,” McDowell said Tuesday night to Golfweek. “I’m going to get myself out of here, home to Florida and decide whether I need to quarantine myself from my family.”
Then word that Brooks Koepka’s caddie tested positive and would be withdrawing as well. Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliot, had tested negative when he arrived for the tournament on Monday, but on Wednesday, after a practice round with McDowell and his caddie, he registered a positive test.
“We all got tested Monday — myself, Claude and Ricky,” Koepka said. “We had no symptoms. Nothing. Ricky has my full support in this. I feel bad for him. We’ve got to do everything we can not to spread it. We have to protect the field. That’s why we have these rules.”
All other parties, including Koepka and McDowell, tested negative after their caddies registered positive tests on Wednesday, but decided it was best to pull their entire teams out of the event.
“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Koepka told Golfweek. “I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this Tour can continue is if guys to do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”
Out of an abundance of caution Webb Simpson and Brooks Koepka’s brother Chase Koepka, who Monday qualified for the event this week, has also withdrawn.
Fans were scheduled to return at the Memorial tournament on July 16, and it looks like that will not change.