PGA Tour shutdown fears grow following another coronavirus positive

Testing times for PGA Tour as shutdown fears grow following another positive coronavirus test, a day after Rory McIlroy claimed canceling Travelers Championship would be ‘silly’

  • A third player has tested positive on the PGA Tour inside just eight days 
  • Matt Wallace’s playing partner Denny McCarthy will not isolate for 10 days 
  • Rory McIlroy claimed cancelling the Travelers Championship would be ‘silly’ 
  • A shutdown is now being feared, with it ‘difficult to see where we’d come back’ 

The latest round of Covid-19 testing brought more bad news to the Travelers Championship yesterday, as Englishman Matt Wallace lost both his playing partners before the start of the second round.

One, Denny McCarthy, tested positive and will self-isolate for at least 10 days, and the other, Bud Cauley, pulled out to be on the safe side. Wallace, who tested negative yesterday morning, felt happy enough to continue but was in for a slow afternoon playing as a single.

A day after Rory McIlroy claimed it would be silly to cancel the event, the fact the third player in eight days to test positive was little-known McCarthy rather than one of the stars might be the only reason the show is still on.

A third golfer in eight days has tested positive for coronavirus at the Travelers Champioship

Matt Wallace has lost both his player partners after Bud Cauley also pulled out to be safe 

McCarthy told the Golf Channel: ‘I’m OK. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling achy and sore, and figured that something was wrong, and that I had better get tested before I went to the course.’

On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan issued new safety protocols and urged his players to follow them, but that hasn’t stopped the positive tests. 

In addition to the three players who have now withdrawn with coronavirus, five more have pulled out for Covid-related reasons, including Graeme McDowell, whose caddie Ken Comboy tested positive.

Graeme McDowell’s caddie Ken Comboy (left) tested positive for coronavirus at the event

The Northern Irishman highlighted the nightmare facing Monahan if the positive tests keep happening and the resumption proves short-lived, saying: ‘If we get to a point where we have to shut it down, it’s very difficult to see where we come back.’

One of the problems is a show featuring 144 players each week and their caddies moving around a nation where many seem to have given up all pretence of following the scientific guidance, resulting in soaring numbers of infections.

As for the early second round play, it’s not often that anyone gets within shouting distance of one of Tiger Woods’ records, so no wonder gifted rookie Collin Morikawa was a frustrated soul after falling just shy of one of Tiger’s most long-standing feats.

Almost a year to the day he turned professional, Morikawa finally missed a halfway cut in his 23rd event. In the last 30 years on the PGA Tour, Tiger set the standard as ever, making it through to the weekend in his first 25 events. 

Rory McIlroy believed it would be silly to stop the tournament but things are changing fast 

‘I guess the only good news is that we can now stop talking about it,’ said Morikawa.

Another to miss out was Justin Rose, quite a surprise after showing some form in his first two events back. So did Matt Fitzpatrick, in his first missed cut for over a year. There were no problems for fellow Englishman Ian Poulter, on four under following a 69.

American Will Gordon, with no status to play on any tour, was making the most of a sponsor’s invitation, setting the early halfway pace on 12 under after a 62. He was three ahead of Xander Schauffele, and Norwegian Viktor Hovland shot 69 to be four behind.




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