The first PGA Tour golfer has tested positive for Covid-19, the Tour said Friday, and he withdrew from this week’s tournament after playing one round.
Nick Watney was tested Friday morning after he had been experiencing symptoms of the virus. Watney will now be quarantined for 10 days, and the Tour said it “has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts, including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick.”
Watney withdrew after shooting an opening-round 74 at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Watney was paired with Vaughn Taylor and Luke List during the first round.
“We knew Nick didn’t show up and he wasn’t feeling well, so there was some speculation in the beginning, but we didn’t think about it for a little bit,” said List, who along with Vaughn and their caddies, will be retested. “Then after nine, we were informed. Yeah, it was hard to concentrate out there for me, just thinking about different stuff, and I wasn’t playing my best anyway.”
Said Vaughn: “I was a little shocked, to be honest. Heart started racing, got a little nervous. Just hope Nick’s doing well and we get through this.”
The Tour said Watney tested negative upon arriving at the RBC Heritage. Watney played in last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, the Tour’s first tournament after its three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, but did not make the cut, and the Tour said he did not travel via its chartered plane to the RBC Heritage. He can end his quarantine after 10 days provided he has no subsequent symptoms or has two negative test results 24 hours apart or more.
A total of 369 people were tested when they arrived on site this week, with zero positive results, the Tour said.
Rory McIlroy and other players, though, were not surprised at the positive test.
“I read a thing today that – look, by the end of the year, there’s going to be 200,000 deaths in the U.S. alone from COVID-19,” McIlroy said. So to think that us on the PGA TOUR, none of us were going to get it was very – I don’t think anyone thought that. I think the consensus was someone is going to get it at some point, and Nick’s the one that’s got it, and he’s self-isolating and doing what he has to do.”
The PGA Tour stated they have no further comment on the matter.
“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines,” the statement said.