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Watney first on PGA Tour to test positive for coronavirus

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – Five-time PGA Tour winner Nick Watney examined positive Friday for the coronavirus, the first participant with a confirmed an infection since golf resumed a full schedule final week.

Watney instantly withdrew from the RBC Heritage and should self-isolate for no less than 10 days below the PGA Tour’s protocols.

He didn’t return a phone name searching for remark. Watney performed the opening spherical with Vaughn Taylor and Luke List, and a guidelines official notified them on the flip of the positive test.

“I was a little shocked, to be honest,” Taylor mentioned. “Heart started racing, got a little nervous. Just hope Nick is doing well and we get through this.”

Watney missed the minimize final week within the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. He traveled on his personal to South Carolina, and his coronavirus test upon arrival at Harbour Town was destructive.

Before arriving to the course for his second spherical, he reported signs per COVID-19, the sickness attributable to the virus. Watney was examined once more, and the consequence got here again positive.

Si Woo Kim noticed him in passing on the vary, and Rory McIlroy mentioned he chatted with Watney on the placing inexperienced. McIlroy mentioned they have been at a distance, and that Watney despatched him a textual content concerning the positive consequence after McIlroy completed his spherical.

“He was just saying, ‘Look, I hope I didn’t get too close to you.’ He feels badly that he was here today at the golf course,” McIlroy mentioned. “I said to him, ‘If I was in your position, I probably would have been here, too. At this point, you just have to concentrate on getting better and getting healthy.’”

List gained final week on the Korn Ferry Tour, the place one participant and three caddies examined positive earlier than the occasion and didn’t come to the programs, and two non-players examined positive earlier than this week’s occasion, each in Florida.

He missed the minimize at Hilton Head with a 73.

“It was hard to concentrate out there for me, just thinking about different stuff, and I wasn’t playing my best, anyway,” List mentioned. “It would be nice if they had an option – you can kind of say if you want to know or not in a situation like that. I would definitely like to find out after the round next time.”

As for one other test, List mentioned even when examined, “it might not show up until a few days down the road. So there’s a lot of different scenarios.”

The tour had no positive exams of the 487 administered at Colonial, and none among the many 98 gamers examined earlier than taking the constitution to Hilton Head or the 369 exams for these arriving on their very own.

Players, caddies and important personnel have obligatory exams.

Jordan Spieth, one in all 4 gamers on the PGA Tour’s coverage board, didn’t sound shocked at golf’s first positive test.

“The whole plan put in place was not if, but when somebody tests positive, what’s the protocol, and what are the next steps,” Spieth mentioned. “So I feel confident, just in being on those phone calls, in what the PGA Tour is going to do going forward. Hopefully, contact tracing doesn’t lead to anybody else testing positive within the bubble.”

The tour mentioned in an announcement it has began its response plan, which incorporates those that have had shut contact with Watney. It mentioned it will haven’t any additional assertion.

Taylor, who made the minimize with two strokes to spare, mentioned he had no shut contact with Watney on Thursday, and he washed his palms instantly after the spherical.

“Nick never coughed or sneezed, so I feel comfortable,” he mentioned.

As a part of the contact tracing plan, Taylor, List and their caddies have been to be examined instantly.

“If you contract it, that’s fine, but then it’s the fact that who have you come into contact with, and who you might have exposed and stuff,” McIlroy mentioned. “Look, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Until this thing’s over, we all just have to stay vigilant and keep your distance and wear our masks if we’re going out in public and keep washing our hands.”

The PGA Tour is scheduled to play subsequent week in Cromwell, Connecticut, the place the Travelers Championship is testing everybody – together with volunteers and media – who can be on property.

Tournament organizers made that call. The PGA Tour has tried to create a bubble of its key individuals at tournaments, designating participant inns as an choice and urging everybody within the bubble to keep away from exterior contact. Some gamers have been renting homes. There is not any regulation in the event that they select to eat out.

Hilton Head has been notably busy this week, with native eating places full of individuals who usually come to this quiet island on the Atlantic coast for trip.

“South Carolina’s open. If you go anywhere to a restaurant, there’s a lot of people there right now,” Spieth mentioned. “So I guess that’s probably best case is that he got it on his own outside” the bubble.

Sebastián Muñoz mentioned “there’s just too many people hanging around” the island.

“It’s a pandemic, you know? A lot of people get it, and eventually one of us was going to get it,” Muñoz mentioned. “I feel good that we caught early with one guy so far. So hopefully, it doesn’t rise up pretty quick.”

Under the tour’s pointers for a positive test, Watney is to self-isolate for no less than 10 days. He can finish his self-isolation after 10 days offered he has no subsequent signs or has two destructive test outcomes 24 hours aside or extra.

The tour will present a stipend to pay for the prices of his self-isolation.

Watney’s most up-to-date victory was in 2012 at Bethpage Black within the FedEx Cup playoff opener. He has struggled to regain his high kind since lacking 10 months in 2016 due to again surgical procedure.


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