In a statement just released the R&A have informed that Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Open Championship.
Hideki tested positive for covid on July 2 before the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic and although he isn’t experiencing symptoms he has been in quarantine. He says that he has had insufficent time to prepare for the Open. He would also have to test negative before entering the UK. The R&A have stricter safety protocols in place for players. In the statement he says that his team and he have decided to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety. He will next play in the Olympic mens golf event in his home country and is exoected to be a torchbearer at the Opening Ceremony. Hideki’s spot in the Open field has been given to Harold Varner III.
I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” Matsuyama said in a statement released by the R&A. “Combining that with the difficult travel to the UK, my team and I have decided it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety.
“I feel badly missing The Open and look forward to playing again at St Andrews next year. I’d like to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return to the game I love as soon as possible.”
Other high profile withdrawals are Bubba Watson, who has been in close contact with someone suffering from covid. He will be replaced by Brendan Steele. Matthew Woolff has not stated a reason, but is on a 2 month absence from the game for mental health reasons. He is replaced by England’s Andy Sullivan. 2001 Open Champion David Duval withdrawal gives a place ti John Catlin.
Danny Lee of New Zealand is injured, and K H Lee has withdrawn on the birth of his child. They are replaced by Antoine Rozner and Troy Merritt.
Min Woo Lee of Australia’s win at the Scottish Open after a three man playoff gives him a place.
Spots also go to Scottish Open runner up Thomas Detry and Jack Senior. Interesting that there is only one Scotsman, Bob McIntyre, in the entire field.
Other late withdrawals are former Open champion Zach Johnson and South African Louis de Jager who have both tested positive. Sam Horsfield and Dylan Fritelli now have places in the championship.
Kevin Na cited the international travel restrictions, giving his place to double major champion Martin Kaymer and Charles Howell III has withdrawn again – he also pulledmout at the Royal Portrush Ooen and Ryan Moore has too due to a back injury.