SANDWICH, England – Master Champion Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from The Open citing a recent COVID-19 diagnosis and his inability to practice in time for the year’s final major championship.
Matsuyama, who became the first male golfer from Japan to win a major championship when he won the Masters in April, tested positive for the coronavirus on July 2 before the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
He has been in quarantine since the positive result, and the R&A reported that he did not experience any symptoms, although he still tested positive.
“I feel good, but could not practice in preparation for the Open,” Matsuyama said in a statement issued by the R&A. ‘When I combine this with the difficult journey to the UK, my team and I have decided that it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety.
‘I feel the Open misses badly and look forward to playing at St Andrews again next year. I want to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return as soon as possible to the game I love. ”
American Harold Varner is now in the Open field.
The Open operates according to other protocols than the one at the PGA Tour, and the R&A has not yet said whether Matsuyama has been approved.
Matsuyama may participate in the PGA Tour again ten days after the onset of symptoms, or test positive for the virus, even if his tests are positive. According to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, someone who shows symptoms can stay tested positive for months, even though he is no longer considered contagious after 10 days.
18th place in the world, Matsuyama’s best final since winning the Masters, was a tie for 26th place at the PGA Championship. He will now turn his attention to the Olympic golf tournament, which starts on July 29 outside Tokyo. The following three players on the R & A’s reserve list for The Open are all Americans: Brendan Steele, John Catlin and Adam Long.