5 Players Withdraw from the PGA Travelers Championship
5 players have withdrawn from the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship due to coronavirus concerns.
Nick Watney was the first player to test positive for COVID-19, who withdrew on Friday after playing his first round at RBC Heritage last week. The rest of the week was able to continue without any further players testing positive, with the PGA Tour conducting thorough contact tracing and testing of any others who came in contact with Watney.
However, as the tour continued on to Cromwell, Connecticut for this week’s Travelers Championship, Cameron Champ became the second player to test positive.
“I feel great physically and I was obviously surprised and disappointed to learn of the test result,” Champ said in a PGA Tour statement. “It’s important now to take the necessary steps and measures to protect others, including my loved ones.”
Heading into Wednesday, Graeme McDowel and world-number-four heavyweight Brooks Koepka both withdrew in an abundance of caution after each of their caddies tested positive for COVID-19.
“I don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize the health of any player in the field or his ability to compete,” Koepka said. “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.”
Koepka’s withdrawal also triggered the withdrawal of his younger brother, Chase Koepka, who qualified for the tournament after a lengthy playoff at the Travelers qualifier on Monday.
Though he won’t be competing this year, a potential point of consolation may be Tournament Director Nathan Grube’s confirming that Chase will be invited to the event next year, provided he still needs the spot.
“I feel as if this is the best decision to keep all other players, caddies and volunteers safe,” Chase Koepka said in a statement provided to the PGA Tour. “It makes me feel so great that they saw what I did,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t need the start and can find a way to earn my PGA Tour card for next year.”
Webb Simpson, winner of last week’s RBC Heritage, announced he too had withdrawn after a member of his family tested positive for COVID-19.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,” Simpson said.
Three positive tests from staffers after the first week back on the Korn Ferry Tour have raised the total to seven positives in 2,757 tests conducted by the Tour.
Aidan Dial is currently a freshman at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. An avid sports fan and golf fanatic, he is most interested in the NBA, NFL, and PGA Tour, though Aidan enjoys watching all sports. He is a sports analyst for At the Buzzer.