It was one hell of a Wednesday for the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan.
After the Tour announced that Cameron Champ tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday becoming the second player to do so, it was reported that Brooks Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, had tested positive on Wednesday. Koepka, the No. 4 player in the world, elected to withdraw from the Travelers Championship despite testing negative. Koepka’s brother, Chase, Monday qualified for the tournament but he too has reportedly elected to withdraw.
With the new positive tests, many were concerned that this week’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut would be canceled, but the event will go on as planned.
While all of this was unfolding, Monahan was preparing to speak to the media and confirmed that last week’s winner Webb Simpson and Graeme McDowell also withdrew due to an “abundance of caution.” Simpson stated that a family member of his tested positive while McDowell’s caddie tested positive, but both players recently tested negative, according to the Tour’s statement.
Monahan also stated that 2,757 tests have been taken between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour over the last three weeks and seven have come back positive. The commissioner made a firm statement saying, “there will be repercussions” when it comes to players not following several new health and safety adjustments the Tour will begin to implement.
Per the PGA Tour:
We need to use these developments as a stark reminder for everyone involved as we continue to learn from an operational standpoint; we are making several adjustments to our health and safety plan, as noted in the memo sent to players this morning, and we will continuously reinforce to all players, caddies, staff members and support personnel on property at PGA TOUR events to adhere to social distancing and other safety protocols that further minimize risk.
A look at some notable quotes from Monahan’s presser:
Jay Monahan: "To be able to say that we're not going to have any cases … I think would be disingenuous."
— Golfweek (@golfweek) June 24, 2020
Jay Monahan concerned about the spikes nationwide but says: “The reality is that we all have to learn to live in an environment of COVID-19.” Remains confident in the Tour protocols.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) June 24, 2020
Jay Monahan says it's "not surprising" to have a situation where a player could test positive and then negative. Multiple reports indicate Ricky Elliott has tested negative today after an earlier positive test, but he and Brooks Koepka still won't participate this week.
— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) June 24, 2020
“All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow those protocols. For any individual who doesn’t, there will be serious repercussions.”
Jay Monahan sent a warning to players, caddies and staff on the PGA Tour.
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) June 24, 2020