PGA Tour Announces Stricter COVID-19 Testing
The Travelers Championship is set to be held in Cromwell, Conn., this weekend, and there will be several major players sitting out. The PGA Tour has been aggressive in its return from the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization is set to take a much stricter approach.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Wednesday that there would be extra testing being done, and the tour will also more closely monitor players on tour. There were three positive coronavirus tests done by the PGA Tour this week, and it’s forced five players to sit out of the event.
There have only been seven positive tests out of almost 2,600 tests administered by the PGA Tour, but three of those positive tests occurred this week. The PGA Tour is looking to create stricter policies in an effort to keep golfers safe, and to continue with their current schedule.
Golfer Nick Watney was the first golfer to test positive for the coronavirus, with his positive test coming before the Friday round at the RBC Heritage. This sent shock waves throughout the PGA Tour community, and it also caused many other golfers and caddies to get tested for the disease.
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A pair of caddies tested positive for COVID-19 this week, and it has forced some of the best golfers in the world to withdraw from the event. Even though the PGA Tour has implemented several health and safety protocols, it has not prevented the disease from reaching the sport.
The PGA Tour decided to continue with the Travelers Championship, but the organization will begin a much tougher testing policy. There are still three Major championships on the PGA Tour schedule, and the organization cannot afford to lose these events.
Koepka Withdraws From Travelers Championship
Brooks Koepka is one of the biggest names on the PGA Tour, but he will not be competing at the Travelers Championship. Koepka announced on Wednesday that he has decided to withdraw from the event after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Koepka is the fourth-ranked player in the world, and he is one of five players that will be skipping this week’s Travelers Championship. Koepka admitted that he wasn’t feeling any symptoms of the virus, but he will skip the event as a precaution.
RBC Heritage champion Webb Simpson has also decided to skip out on the Travelers Championship in an effort to remain safe. Chase Koepka, brother of Brooks, was one of the five players that chose to skip the PGA Tour event this weekend.
Both Simpson and Koepka have tested negative for the coronavirus but are exercising caution by skipping the event this week.
McDowell Also Out of Travelers
Graeme McDowell is not one of the biggest names on the PGA Tour, but he has won several PGA Tour events. McDowell announced on Wednesday that he was withdrawing from the Travelers Championship after his caddie tested positive for the coronavirus.
McDowell tested negative for the virus on both Monday and Wednesday but did express that he was experiencing symptoms related to the virus. His caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday after experiencing symptoms a week ago.
David Hearn was announced as a replacement for McDowell, and he won’t be the only replacement player this weekend. McDowell will be leaving Connecticut and heading back home to Orlando, Fla., to rest and get ready for the next event.
McDowell has not yet decided if he will self-quarantine upon returning home as he is not feeling any symptoms of the virus. He missed the cut at last week’s PGA Tour event but did attend a funeral with his caddie on June 15.