Golf’s return at professional level was in danger of being stopped in its tracks after American Nick Watney tested positive for Covid-19 on the PGA Tour.
The news was confirmed during the second round of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, South Carolina – the second event on the US circuit since it restarted following a three-month shutdown due to the pandemic.
A statement read: “PGA Tour member Nick Watney has withdrawn from the RBC Heritage prior to the second round after testing positive for Covid-19. On Friday, prior to arriving at the tournament, he indicated he had symptoms consistent with the illness and after consulting with a physician, was administered a test and found to be positive.
“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines.
“For the health and well-being of all associated with the tournament and those within the community, the Tour has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick.”
Watney, a five-time PGA Tour winner, had travelled privately to Hilton Head for the tournament, which is being held behind closed doors due to safety restrictions.
The 39-year-old was not on the PGA Tour-provided charter flight from Texas, venue for last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, and had tested negative upon arrival in South Carolina.
“He is the first PGA Tour member to test positive for coronavirus,” added the statement. “A total of 369 individuals [players, caddies, essential personnel] underwent on-site testing prior to the start of the tournament, with zero positive results.
“The PGA Tour will have no additional comment
at this time and we ask media and fans to respect the privacy of Nick and his family.”
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