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Matsuyama WDs after testing positive for COVID

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic, putting his status for The Open in two weeks in question.

Matsuyama’s agent and interpreter, Bob Turner, said it was too soon to say what the ramifications would be and that details were being discussed.

A player who tests positive for COVID-19 on the PGA Tour is allowed to return to competition 10 days after the onset of symptoms — or sooner if there are no symptoms based on consecutive negative tests — which would be Monday of The Open week at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.

But the R&A protocols for The Open are different, and the organization has yet to respond to questions for clarification. Players will be required to be in strict “buddy” bubbles during The Open and are not being allowed to visit restaurants or grocery stores or visit with other players off site.

Also, those deemed to have been in close contact with someone who has COVID could be removed from the tournament.

“It’s disappointing to receive this news and have to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic,” Matsuyama said in a statement released by the PGA Tour. “I will take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all others. I appreciate and thank everyone for their concern in advance. I look forward to a full recovery and returning to competition as soon as possible.”

Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who played with Matsuyama in Thursday’s first round, were to play as a twosome on Friday.

The PGA Tour announced earlier this week that it would be ending its COVID-19 testing program starting the week of the 3M Open in three weeks. Players who show symptoms would still be able to get tested.

It was unclear if Matsuyama was experiencing symptoms or if he was part of a contact tracing situation that would have required him to be tested each day if not fully vaccinated.

Matsuyama has played four times since winning the Masters, his best finish a tie for 23rd at the PGA Championship. He tied for 26th two weeks ago at the U.S. Open.

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