Hideki Matsuyama Tests Positive for COVID-19, Withdraws from Rocket Mortgage Classic

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2021

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, watches his shot during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

PGA Tour golfer Hideki Matsuyama announced he withdrew from Rocket Mortgage Classic before Friday's second round after testing positive for COVID-19.

"It's disappointing to receive this news and have to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic," Matsuyama said in a statement. "I will take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all others. I appreciate and thank everyone for their concern in advance. I look forward to a full recovery and returning to competition as soon as possible."

The 29-year-old Japan native shot a two-under 70 in the opening round of the event at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan. He played alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler on Thursday. Mickelson and Fowler teed off Round 2 as a twosome.

Matsuyama has recorded just one top-10 finish in 15 starts this year, but he made it count by becoming the first Japanese man to win a golf major championship in April's Masters.

His announcement of a COVID-19 diagnosis turns the focus for his availability for the Open Championship, which begins July 15 at Royal St. George's Golf Club in England, and the Tokyo Olympics golf tournament, which tees off in his home country July 29.

"I'm really looking forward to the Olympic Games in Tokyo," Matsuyama told reporters after winning the Masters. "If I am on the team, and maybe it looks like I will be, I'll do my best to represent my country, and hopefully I'll play well."

He was formally announced as part of the 60-player field in June.

As for the British Open, Adam Schupak of Golfweek noted the "stiff requirements" related to COVID-19 for the season's final major puts Matsuyama's status "in doubt."

Matsuyama is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour, though his triumph in the Masters marked his first victory since the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational.