CROMWELL, Conn. — Two more PGA Tour players withdrew from the Travelers Championship Friday following a positive coronavirus test.
Denny McCarthy, 27, withdrew after testing positive. He was scheduled to tee of his afternoon with Bud Cauley, who tested negative but still withdrew, and Matt Wallace, who continued to play.
“I was feeling pretty tired and sore after the round yesterday but didn’t think much of it because I had practiced a lot Monday to Wednesday,” McCarthy said. “Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with additional aches and soreness and sensed something was off. I felt like the only thing to do was get tested at that point before I went to the course.”
Cauley, who was part of a group playing with McCarthy on Thursday, withdrew shortly thereafter. The third member of the group from Thursday, Wallace, teed off as scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Friday after testing negative.
“I’m very thankful I have tested negative but have decided to withdraw out of an abundance of caution for my peers and everyone involved with the tournament,” Cauley said, after testing negative twice on Friday.
McCarthy shot a 3-under 67 on Thursday. He is the 180th ranked player in the world. Cauley, ranked 123rd, shot a 1-under 69 in the opening round.
McCarthy and Cauley’s withdrawals follows Cameron Champ, who tested positive and withdrew Tuesday before the tournament began. Graeme McDowell withdrew after his caddie tested positive before traveling to Connecticut. Brooks Koepka also withdrew after his caddie tested positive and his brother, Chase Koepka, did the same after playing a practice round with his brother and McDowell. Webb Simpson withdrew as a precaution.
Amid the withdrawals this week, PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan flew to Connecticut Wednesday and held a press conference, stating that the tour will increase its health and safety protocols; there will be increased testing when players arrive to a new market; fitness trailers will be provided on sit if players wish to work out; coaches will be included in the testing bubble, and a stipend will be offered to players who test positive and follow the tour’s protocols.
“This has been a big adjustment for everybody. I think everybody’s intentions have been very good,” Monahan said. “They’ve taken their responsibility seriously. I don’t question that at all. … I think over the first couple weeks we’ve seen some instances where we’ve gotten a little bit lax or away from protocol.”
On Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont reaffirmed his support for the PGA Tour’s annual event in Cromwell.
“The PGA is taking the protocols seriously,” Lamont said Thursday. “It said to me that everybody involved in the tournament —players, caddies, staff —was tested. They didn’t hide anything. When people tested positive they were taken right off the battlefield. And that’s the way you’ve got to do it. So I was impressed that they followed up on what they said they were going to do.”
While on the course, golfers are expected to maintain a distance and not exchange handshakes or high-fives.
Golfers who do not follow the protocol will face “serious repercussions,” though Monahan did not specify what that entails. There is no set number of positive tests that would lead to golf shutting down, however. Monahan said Wednesday that the tour had conducted 2,757 in-market tests over the last three weeks, yielding seven positive results.
Most in this week’s field believe the tour has done a commendable job of keeping golfers and their teams safe, with some saying things may need to tighten up a bit. Justin Thomas, the world’s third-ranked golfer, said that he has been guilty of breaking social distancing rules while on the course, and understands that he and others need to do a better job of patrolling themselves.
Keegan Bradley, a native of Vermont and former Travelers Championship runner-up, said that while he feels safe, there may come a point where the tour is forced to shut down.
“Well, I think if we get to that point, I think that none of us will be playing,” Bradley said of potentially 15 or 20 golfers testing positive. “But I’d have to wait and see. I haven’t felt really in danger since I’ve been out here. I’ve felt pretty comfortable. I’ve been staying in my room and doing as much as I can. But I think if we had 20 guys test positive, I don’t know if we’d be playing.”
Nick Watney was the first golfer on tour to test positive. He withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament in Hilton Head, S.C., last Friday after receiving his results.