COVID-19 is not leaving anytime soon and the PGA Tour has already experienced that over the past week. Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson, respectively the No. 4 and No. 5 golf players around the globe, are amongst the five golfers who have retreated from the 2020 Travelers Championship.
Koepka and Simpson took this bold step out of caution owing to contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
Koepka retreated after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, recorded a positive test, while Simpson took this decision since a family member tested positive. On Wednesday, both of their individual tests came negative. On Monday, Koepka’s brother Chase secured his position in the Travelers Championship after progressing through a qualifying event playoff, but he too withdrew out of vigilance.
At the beginning of this week, Cameron Champ declared his retreat following a positive coronavirus test. He is the sole golf player who tested positive for COVID-19 this week prior to the Travelers Championship. Graeme McDowell too backed out of the Travelers upon knowing that his caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive.
Elliott had reportedly spent time with McDowell and Comboy a little while ago, and both the Koepka brothers played a practice round with McDowell, at the start of this week.
“I haven’t tested positive for COVID-19, but as I’ve said all along, I’m taking this very seriously. I don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize the health of any player in the field or his ability to compete,” Koepka mentioned in a statement. “The right thing to do right now is getting home, support Ricky, and feel confident that I’m doing what I can do protecting my fellow Tour members, my PGA Tour friends and everyone associated with the Travelers Championship this week.”
Simpson too shared a similar sentiment and stated: “In the last 24 hours, I had a family member test positive for COVID-19. While my tests this week were negative, I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of my family and protect my peers in the field by withdrawing from the Travelers Championship,” He further added, “I am going to return home to Charlotte and quarantine under CDC guidelines, and I look forward to returning to competition after that time period.”
On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan kept a press conference to reveal the positive tests and promise “serious repercussions” and implications for any players who will breach the protocols set for the tournament events. He also mentioned that testing will be strengthened in the subsequent week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.