Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson both out of Open due to Covid issues

Current Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and two-time Augusta winner Bubba Watson have both withdrawn from the 149th Open at Royal St George’s due to Covid-19 issues.

Hideki Matsuyama after his Masters win in April. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images.
Hideki Matsuyama after his Masters win in April. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images.

Matsuyama is out of the final major of the season as he continues to test positive for Covid-19 while Watson has been KO’d after being identified as a close contact of an individual testing positive for Covid-19.

Japanese star Matsuyama first tested positive prior to the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA Tour a week past Friday.

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Matsuyama has been in quarantine since then and is currently symptom free, but subsequent PCR tests have continued to show positive results.

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” he said. “Combining that with the difficult travel to the UK, my team and I have decided it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety.

“I feel badly missing The Open and look forward to playing again at St Andrews next year.

“I’d like to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return to the game I love as soon as possible.”

Watson announced that he was also out of the Claret Jug event in a post on social media.

The American wrote: “I am disappointed to announce I will not compete at The Open next week due to having direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

“While I am vaccinated and have passed the required pre-travel Covid-test, not enough time has passed for me to comfortably join the charter flight and risk exposure to the other players and personnel on the plane.

“I appreciate the R&A’s guidance and help navigating UK policies for such situations.”

A strict bubble for players is being implemented by the R&A for the event’s first visit to the Sandwich venue since Darren Clarke won in 2011.

Matsuyama’s place has gone to American Harold Varner III, with compatriot Brendan Steele coming in for Watson.

American duo John Catlin and Adam Long are now next on the standby list then England’s Sam Horsfield.

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