- PGA Tour player Brooks Koepka has decided not to play this week’s Travelers Championship after his caddie tested positive for COVID-19
- Koepka marks the fifth player to withdraw from the tournament due to positive tests
The PGA Tour appears to be in trouble.
One of the first sports to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, players and caddies have been falling victim to the virus leading up to this weekend’s Travelers Championship.
The positive tests have put the circuit under the microscope this week as other leagues, such as Major League Baseball, announced their own plans for a return to play.
Koepka Out of Travelers
Brooks Koepka, the fourth-ranked player in the world, has withdrawn from the Travelers after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else,” Koepka told Golfweek. “I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this tour can continue is if guys do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”
Koepka also made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) June 24, 2020
Initially, Koepka, his coach Claude Hermon III and Elliott all tested negative upon arriving at the Travelers, but after learning that Graeme McDowell’s caddie, Ken Comboy, had tested positive, the trio took a second round of tests.
Koepka told Golfweek that only the second test of Elliott’s came back positive.
“We all got tested Monday — myself, Claude and Ricky,” Koepka said. “We had no symptoms. Nothing. Ricky has my full support in this. I feel bad for him. We’ve got to do everything we can not to spread it. We have to protect the field. That’s why we have these rules.”
Elliott apparently came in contact with Comboy at a funeral of a close mutual friend in Orlando.
McDowell told Golfweek that Comboy believes he was exposed to the virus was travelling back to Orlando after McDowell missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Koepka is coming off a seventh-place finish at the RBC Heritage tournament this past weekend.
5 Players Withdrawn From Travelers
By now means is Koepka the only player to sit out this weekend’s tournament.
McDowell has also withdrawn from the tournament. Despite testing negative twice, McDowell withdrew on Wednesday citing “fatigue and muscle soreness” and said he’s drive back to his Orlando home rather than fly.
He and Koepka had played a practice round at the TPC River Highlands on Tuesday.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also said that both Webb Simpson – coming off his win at the RBC Heritage – and Chase Koepka, the younger brother of Brooks, pulled out of the tournament “out of an abundance of caution.
Simpson’s, whose win last weekend propelled him to fifth in world rankings, tested negative but said he had a family member test positive on Tuesday.
Chase Koepka qualified for the Travelers field on Monday pulled out after Tweeting he was in close contact with someone who had tested positive.
— Chase Koepka (@ChaseKoepka) June 24, 2020
“I feel it is my responsibility to take care of my family and protect my peers in the field by withdrawing,” Simpson said while adding he was returning to his home in Charlotte to quarantine.
It was reported on Tuesday that Cameron Champ had tested positive and therefore withdrew from the field.
In addition to the Koepka’s, McDowell, Simpson and Champ, there is also Nick Watney, who last week became the first PGA Tour player to test positive for the virus.
It’s certainly not a good look to have another player in addition to two caddies come down with the virus in just a week’s time.