SANDWICH, England – Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from the Open, citing a recent diagnosis of COVID-19 and his inability to train properly in time for the last major championship of the year.
Matsuyama, who became the first Japanese golfer to win a major championship when he won the Masters in April, tested positive for the coronavirus on July 2 ahead of the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
He has been in quarantine since this positive result and the R&A has reported that he has no symptoms, although he has continued to test positive.
“I feel good but I haven’t been able to train for the Open,” Matsuyama said in a statement released by the R&A. “Combining this with the difficult trip to the UK, my team and I decided it was best to step aside to ensure everyone’s safety.
“I miss the Open sorely and look forward to playing again at St Andrews next year. I want to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return to the game I have ‘love as soon as possible.’ ‘
The American Harold Varner is now in the Open field.
The Open operates under different protocols than the PGA Tour and the R&A has yet to say whether Matsuyama has been cleared.
Matsuyama would be allowed to resume competition on the PGA Tour 10 days after symptoms appear or test positive for the virus even if his tests come back positive. According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, a person who exhibits symptoms can continue to be positive for months, although they are no longer considered contagious after 10 days.
Ranked 18th in the world, Matsuyama’s best result since winning the Masters was a tie for 26th in the PGA Championship. He will now turn to the Olympic golf tournament, which kicks off on July 29 outside Tokyo. The next three players on the R&A reserve list for the Open are all Americans: Brendan Steele, John catlin and Adam long.