Nick Watney has withdrawn from the RBC Heritage after testing positive for Covid-19, the PGA Tour have confirmed.
Watney, who fired an opening 74 at Harbour Town Golf Links, complained of feeling unwell before heading to the course to prepare for his second round
As he was displaying symptoms consistent with coronavirus, he was tested immediately and the result was positive, meaning Watney had to pull out of the tournament and will now undergo a period of self-isolation before he is eligible to compete again.
A PGA Tour statement read: “On Friday, prior to arriving at the tournament, he indicated he had symptoms consistent with the illness and after consulting with a physician, was administered a test and found to be positive.
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“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines. For the health and well-being of all associated with the tournament and those within the community, the Tour has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick.
“Watney, who travelled privately to Hilton Head Island for the tournament and was not on the PGA Tour-provided charter flight, tested negative upon arrival.
“He is the first PGA Tour member to test positive for Coronavirus. A total of 369 individuals (players, caddies, essential personnel) underwent on-site testing prior to the start of the tournament, with zero positive results.
“The PGA Tour will have no additional comment at this time and we ask media and fans to respect the privacy of Nick and his family.”
Back in May, the Tour issued a comprehensive health and safety guide for players and caddies ahead of the resumption of competitive golf at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.
The focus was on an extensive testing programme that begins with pre-travel testing for Covid-19 and, assuming the test is negative, every player will then undergo a four-stage screening process when they arrive at the host venue.
The on-site tests are conducted daily, and if any player or caddie produces a positive test, they will be forced into self-isolation at a pre-determined location for a minimum of 10 days.