20 Jun 2020 | Professional golf |

Tour goes on despite Covid positive

by Martin Blake

Nick Watney image
Nick Watney has withdrawn from Hilton Head after a positive Covid-19 Test. Photo: Getty

The US PGA Tour has had its first direct brush with the Covid 19 virus.

American player Nick Watney withdrew from the tour’s RBC Heritage event in South Carolina today after testing positive.

Watney’s withdrawal came ahead of the second round but the tournament went on. The five-time tour winner reported symptoms consistent with Covid-19 before having his test on course. He will now be required to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

It is a stark reminder of how fragile tournament golf is under the shadow of the pandemic.

The tour said protocols including contact-tracing would now kick in, but there was some public discussion about how the tournament was able to continue. Watney played the first round with fellow-Americans Vaughn Taylor and Luke List.

The tour pointed out that Watney travelled to Hilton Head privately, and was not on the tour’s charter flight. He tested negative prior to the tournament, as did a total of 369 players, caddies and other personnel.

According to reports from the US a player on the Korn Ferry Tour returned a positive test last week as well as two caddies.

Presidents Cup star Webb Simpson leads the RBC at 12-under while the Australian bunch struggled. Matt Jones was the only one inside the four-under par cut-line.

Meanwhile Victorian Brett Coletta dropped out of the lead on day three of the Korn Ferry Tour's King and Bear Classic in Florida, despite carding a two-under par 70.

Coletta, 23, seeking his first win as a pro, watched ridiculous scoring around him, with American Vince India reaching 25-under par already. The Melburnian is at 17-under in a tie for eighth, and Perth's Curtis Luck also continued his good form, reaching 16-under to be tied-13th.

RBC Heritage leaderboard

Korn Ferry Tour leaderboard

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