Golf: McCarthy tests positive for Covid-19 at PGA event

McCarthy plays his shot from the 18th tee during the first round of the Travelers Championship. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - American Denny McCarthy tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday (June 26) at the PGA Travelers Championship, becoming the third tour golfer infected with the deadly virus since the tour resumed play.

McCarthy, a 27-year-old from suburban Washington who was seeking his first PGA title, withdrew before his afternoon tee time in the second round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

McCarthy fired a three-under-par 67 in Thursday's opening round and told the telecaster that symptoms developed following his first round.

"I was feeling pretty sore and tired after the round," McCarthy told Golf Channel. "Didn't think much of it because I practiced a lot Monday through Wednesday."

But when he woke up in the night and remained sore, McCarthy said he thought it would be best to be tested before going to the course Friday.

"I woke up in the middle of the night and my body was really achy and sore and figured something was wrong," he said.

With the test, McCarthy joined the Covid-19 player group that includes compatriots Nick Watney, who tested positive last week in South Carolina, and Cameron Champ, who tested positive on Tuesday at River Highlands.

Caddies for Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell also tested positive this week in Connecticut, prompting the players to withdraw from the event after close contact with the bagmen in practice rounds.

McCarthy's first-round playing partners, American Bud Cauley and England's Matt Wallace, both tested negative for coronavirus Friday, according to Golf Channel, but took different decisions regarding the event.

Cauley, who opened with a 69, withdrew from the Travelers because he was "just being cautious, not because of a positive test."

Wallace, who opened on 70, teed off on schedule and opened with a par at the first hole.

McCarthy was quarantined until deciding where he wanted to isolate for at least 10 days under PGA Tour safety protocol installed to allow the tour to return earlier this month after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

McCarthy was 66th at Colonial two weeks ago in the PGA comeback event and missed last week's cut at the Heritage tournament.

World number one Rory McIlroy called the notion of shutting down the event or the season restart because of a few positive tests a "silly" idea.

"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," he said on Thursday.

"There have been almost 3,000 tests administered. The percentage of positive tests is under a quarter of a per cent. I think as a whole, it has been going really well."

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