SANDWICH, England – A potential disaster during The Open was avoided when Zach Johnson’s positive COVID-19 test came back before he was on a charter flight with players, managers and cadets on his way to England during the tournament in Royal St. George’s.
Johnson, 45, a two-time major championship winner, including the 2015 Open, was tested Sunday after the final round of the John Deere Classic, as were the other players and others who would be planning the trip.
They all got quick results from PCR tests that returned within 90 minutes, and Johnson, who was tied for 34th place in the tournament, was positive and withdrew from the Open.
Johnson on Monday expressed his disappointment in a brief Twitter post.
– Zach Johnson (@ZachJohnsonPGA) 12 July 2021
Due to strict contact rules implemented in the UK and part of the Open’s protocols, any of the other players on the flight from the tournament would be removed if Johnson traveled to England and tested positive here.
The John Deere Classic had 16 players off its field on the flight that would land on Monday morning.
Johnson was asked last week about the strict rules that apply to The Open.
“As I see it, honestly, it’s like the current situation here, with the exception of the six time zones, that I’m going to take a test here before I go, if I want to, it’s negative, and if I go there, I think I’ll be tested again, “he said.” Again, my guess is, and I think it’s a fair guess, that they’re looking to improve the whole thing and not just our players. is kind of what I do every week, and that’s good. ‘
Johnson was replaced in the field by England’s Sam Horsfield, based on a list taken from the Official World Golf Rankings.
Ryan Moore, who qualified for the Open based on his tie for second on the John Deere, turned down his place and was replaced in the field by Adam Long. Another player, Louis de Jager of South Africa, tested positive and was replaced by Dylan Frittelli.
For various reasons, several related to COVID-19 testing and travel protocols, 16 players either selected or withdrew from The Open, which begins Thursday.