Coronavirus Strikes Again Ahead of Travelers Championship (Updated)

Travelers Championship

Less than one week after Nick Watney became the first person on the PGA Tour to test positive for COVID-19, the Tour saw more positive tests on Tuesday.

Watney tested positive on Friday of last week, forcing him to withdraw before the start of his second round at the RBC Heritage, but not before arriving at the course and going through his pre-round warmup routine while awaiting the results. That lead many to wonder if his presence at the golf course would lead to more positive tests down the line.

Well, while not proven to be directly related to Watney’s positive test from Friday, the Tour saw multiple people test positive over the past 24 hours.

The first positive test came Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Cameron Champ received a positive test and, as a result, was forced to withdraw from the Travelers Championship this week. Unlike Watney though, Champ was completely asymptomatic and was completely taken aback by the results.

The Tour released the following statement after the news broke:

Then, late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, a report from Eamon Lynch at Golfweek came out that Ken Comboy, caddie for Graeme McDowell also tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, G-Mac has withdrawn from the Travelers as well.

What might be the most concerning part of the Comboy test news is just how much he has traveled as of late, which shines some light into just how strong, or in this case weak, the Tour’s “bubble” truly is. From Lynch’s story:

Comboy suspects he may have been exposed to the virus after the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas two weeks ago. McDowell’s private plane was too small for his party, so his longtime bagman took a commercial flight to Orlando that he described as “packed” with passengers. On Monday, he and McDowell attended the funeral of a friend, then drove to Hilton Head, S.C. for the RBC Classic.

On Thursday, Comboy said he had a mild sore throat and went to bed early. After missing the cut Friday morning, the pair drove home to Orlando that afternoon with McDowell’s trainer, a six-hour journey.

On Saturday morning, Comboy reported his lingering sore throat in a daily questionnaire players and caddies receive from the Tour. A doctor called him soon afterward and advised a test. McDowell said his caddie drove back to Hilton Head on Saturday night to be tested at the Tour facility the following morning. A positive result came back Tuesday afternoon. The only other symptom Comboy has developed is losing his sense of smell, which manifested yesterday. He had not traveled to Connecticut for the Travelers and is quarantining in Orlando.

While Comboy had not yet arrived in Hartford yet, the same couldn’t be said for McDowell. G-Mac was at TPC River Highlands on Tuesday playing a practice round with Brooks Koepka, his brother Chase, and Shane Lowry. While McDowell’s test came back negative, he and everyone else that he came in contact with on Tuesday at the Travelers Championship will now undergo a new set of tests on Wednesday.

Update (11:34 am): Per Lynch, Brooks Koepka has also chosen to withdraw from the Travelers Championship after his caddie Ricky Elliot tested positive. Brooks played a practice round yesterday with McDowell whose caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive. Elliot and Comboy attended the same funeral in Orlando.

Author: Dan Hauser

Dan is the co-founder of The Stiff Shaft and the website's Senior Writer. A South Florida native, Dan has been covering golf since 2013 and playing it his entire life. He is still waiting for his first hole-in-one.

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