PGA Tour alters protocols, Cameron Champ back in competition after multiple negative tests

Cameron Champ received multiple negative COVID tests and will reenter competition this week.

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DETROIT — The PGA Tour has altered its coronavirus testing protocol, and will now allow asymptomatic players and caddies who tested positive back into competition after receiving two negative tests 24 hours apart without symptoms. 

Originally, players and caddies who tested positive — such as Nick Watney, the first player to do so —  were subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine. The updated change, according to the Tour, comes with correspondence and guidance from the CDC and will go into effect immediately.

The main subject of the change appears to be Cameron Champ, who tested positive for the coronavirus just before last week’s Travelers Championship. Champ was withdrawn from the field, but later tested negative multiple times. Champ will now be added to the field of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic pending his test upon arrival.

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In face of the coronavirus, PGA Tour adjusting on the fly to establish a new normal

By: Sean Zak

“I am extremely grateful for the tireless efforts and conversations between the Tour, my team and all of the experts who were consulted in order to deliver this best possible outcome,” Champ said in the press release. “It is a great example of everyone being committed to working together to adapt and evolve in this constantly changing environment. I would especially like to thank my fellow players for their support and cannot wait to tee it up with them in Detroit tomorrow!”

Champ is now scheduled to play as a single tomorrow afternoon at 2:10 ET. He is far from the only player affected. Fellow asymptomatic players who tested positive — Chad Campbell, Harris English and Korn Ferry players Brandon Wu and Jonathan Hodge — will have the same opportunity to re-enter competition without a 10-day quarantine period. Brooks Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliot, reportedly tested negative after receiving a positive test that led to Koepka (and his brother Chase) withdrawing out of an abundance of caution.

The Tour also announced slight changes to its stipend policy. It being week four of a return to golf, various players are taking (and returning from) scheduled off weeks. In order for a player to receive the stipend that accompanies an on-site positive test, they will have had to test negative on an at-home test the week prior to returning to competition. 

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A senior editor for GOLF.com, Zak joined the staff GOLF staff three weeks after college graduation. He is the utility infielder of the brand, spanning digital, print and video. His main duty is as a host for various GOLF.com video properties and its award-winning podcasts. When the Masters comes around, be sure to tune in to hear him and fellow staffers recount the most memorable tournaments in Augusta National history on A Pod Unlike Any Other.