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Nick Watney Withdraws from RBC Heritage After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 19, 2020

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 29: Nick Watney of the United States plays his shot from the second tee during the third round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa Champion course on February 29, 2020 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Golfer Nick Watney has withdrawn from the RBC Heritage on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour announced. 

According to a statement released by the PGA, Watney began showing symptoms Friday morning, leading him to consult with a physician who administered a test for the coronavirus. 

Watney will now follow CDC guidelines for self-isolation and recovery. 

The tour noted the Henderson, Nevada, resident traveled to the Hilton Head, South Carolina, tournament privately and was not on the PGA-provided charter flight. Watney also tested negative for COVID-19 upon arriving at the event, as did the other 369 players, caddies and staffers on site. 

Watney must isolate for at least 10 days, per the PGA Tour's guidelines, as well as comply with all state, federal and local requirements. 

"For the health and well-being of all associated with the tournament and those within the community, the Tour has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts," the PGA said, "including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick."

Players who test positive after making the cut will receive the last-place earnings share; however, Watney was forced to withdraw before the field was trimmed down. 

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The tour says it will have no further comment on Watney's status at this time and is asking for fans and media to respect the privacy of Watney and his family. 

A 39-year-old Sacramento native, Watney is the first player on the PGA Tour to test positive during competition. 

The RBC Heritage is only the second tournament for the PGA Tour after the coronavirus pandemic initially put competition on hiatus for nearly three months. Last week's Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, was the first, producing an outing with no members testing positive for the virus. 

Watney played in the tournament, finishing 24th overall. 

During the first round of action at the RBC Heritage on Thursday, Watney shot a three-over 74. 

The 234rd-ranked golfer in the world, Watney hasn't won a PGA Tour event since August 2012, when he emerged victorious at The Barclays by three strokes.

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