Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson among five PGA Tour golfers outside the Travelers Championship due to COVID-19

COVID-19 is not going anywhere, and the PGA Tour has experienced that reality for the past week. Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson, respectively the world’s No. 4 and No. 5 players, are among the five golfers who have withdrawn from the 2020 Traveler Championship. Koepka and Simpson did so as a precaution due to contact with someone who tested positive. by the coronavirus.

Koepka retired after his caddy, Ricky Elliott, registered a positive test, while Simpson made his decision after a family member tested positive. His personal tests came back negative on Wednesday. Koepka’s brother Chase, who earned a place in the Traveler Championship on Monday after advancing through a tiebreaker from a qualifying event, also retired as a precaution.

Earlier this week, Cameron Champ announced his withdrawal after a positive coronavirus test. He is the only golf player to test positive for COVID-19 this week before the Travelers Championship. Graeme McDowell also withdrew from the Travelers after learning that her caddy, Ken Comboy, tested positive.

Elliott reportedly spent time with McDowell and Comboy recently, and both Koepka brothers played a practice round with McDowell earlier this week.

“I have not tested positive for COVID-19, but as I have said all along, I take it very seriously. I do not want to do anything that could jeopardize the health of any player on the field or their ability to compete,” he said. Koepka in a statement. “The right thing to do right now is get home, support Ricky and feel confident that I am doing what I can to protect my fellow Tour members, my friends on the PGA Tour and all those associated with the Travelers Championship this week”.

Simpson shared a similar sentiment. “In the last 24 hours, a member of my family tested positive for COVID-19. Although my tests this week were negative, I feel that it is my responsibility to care for my family and protect my colleagues in the field when I withdraw from it. Travelers Championship, “he said. “I will go back home to Charlotte and be quarantined under CDC guidelines, and I hope to return to the competition after that time period.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan held a press conference on Wednesday to announce the positive tests and promise “serious repercussions” and consequences for any golfer who breaks established protocols for tournament events. He also said that testing will be reinforced next week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

It is not difficult to connect the dots here and see how easy it is for COVID-19 to infiltrate and then spread within the PGA Tour or any sport. When players, caddies, and essential personnel travel from city to city, sometimes together but sometimes separately, it can become a Petri dish for the virus to manifest.

The PGA Tour will continue to fight to isolate the incidents, but after none the first week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, one final week at RBC Heritage and now five coronavirus-related retreats this week before the Travelers Championship has begun, The Trend line does not build confidence about what the future holds.

Simpson won RBC Heritage last week, and Koepka had his first top-10 finish since the 2019 Tour Championship at the event.