CROMWELL, Conn. — Denny McCarthy tested positive for the coronavirus and has withdrawn from the Travelers Championship along with Bud Cauley, who was paired with McCarthy during Thursday’s first round.
“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 Friday after becoming the third PGA Tour player to test positive. “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.”
The PGA Tour said it implemented 16 additional tests Friday for those who were in close contact with McCarthy, including Cauley, who twice tested negative on Friday morning but decided to withdraw.
“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.
Matt Wallace, who played with McCarthy and Cauley on Thursday, tested negative Friday, as did caddies Derek Smith (McCarthy), David McNeill (Wallace) and Matt Hauser (Cauley).
“I was scared,” said Wallace, who teed off by himself for Friday’s second round and was joking with fellow players, asking if they’d like to join him as they passed by the tee.
McCarthy, who shot 3-under 67 and would have opened the second round near the cut line, and Cauley, who shot 69, are the sixth and seventh players to pull out of this week’s field.
“Denny has our full support as he self-isolates here in Hartford and recovers, and I know I speak for the entire Tour membership in thanking him for doing the right thing in requesting an additional test before heading to the golf course today,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. “What Denny, Bud and others are demonstrating is exactly what we asked of everyone — continue to do your part in taking this virus seriously and keeping not only your own health as a priority, but also that of your fellow competitors and those you may come in contact with.”
Earlier this week, five players withdrew. Cameron Champ revealed he had tested positive for the virus. Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell both pulled out after their caddies tested positive. Chase Koepka, Brooks’ brother who gained entry into the event as a Monday qualifier, also withdrew out of caution. Webb Simpson did the same after finding out a member of his family had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Last week at the RBC Heritage, the tour’s second event back after a three-month shutdown, Nick Watney became the first player to test positive for the virus.
Monahan on Wednesday said the tour would be implementing what he called stricter protocols and increased testing. He also stressed there would be “serious repercussions” for anyone who did not adhere to the policies.
“It’s pretty clear that this virus isn’t going anywhere,” Monahan said.
Among the changes were an added test for players who take the tour-arranged charter flight between events; that instructors permitted on-site would be subject to the same testing as the players; that the tour’s fitness trailer would move on-site beginning next week; and that players who test positive and are required to self-isolate would need to follow these protocols to receive a tour-issued stipend.
“All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow those protocols,” Monahan said. “For any individual that does not, there will be serious repercussions.
“But everybody knows and needs to know that our future, our ability to sustain this business and to impact the communities where we play and to create so many jobs, is contingent on our ability to follow those protocols. So when we have instances where someone hasn’t, they will be dealt with. And as I said, the consequences will be significant.”
On Thursday, Rory McIlroy said that despite the increased number of positive tests, he felt the tour made the right decision to move forward with the event.
“I think people — you hear one or two positive tests and people are panicking, and I saw a couple of calls to shut the tournament down, which is silly from my point of view,” McIlroy said. “You know, I thought [Monahan] did a really good job explaining. There’s been almost 3,000 tests administered. The percentage of positive tests is under — it’s a quarter of a percent. I think as a whole, it’s been going really well. There’s a couple of loose ends that we needed to tidy up, and I think we’ve done that.”
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