Graeme McDowell Exits Travelers Championship; Caddie Tests Positive for COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2020

KAPALUA, HAWAII - JANUARY 02: Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and caddie Ken Comboy look on from the second tee during the first round of the Sentry Tournament Of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course on January 02, 2020 in Kapalua, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

PGA Tour golfer Graeme McDowell withdrew from the 2020 Travelers Championship on Wednesday after his caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for COVID-19.

McDowell confirmed the news in a Tuesday night interview with Eamon Lynch of Golfweek.

"For the protection of the field and for my own physical and mental well-being, I'm going to take a test tomorrow morning then jump on a private plane," he said. "I'm going to get myself out of here, home to Florida and decide whether I need to quarantine myself from my family."

McDowell played the first two events of the Tour's restarted 2020 season, the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage, and missed the cut in both events.

The 40-year-old Northern Irishman told Lynch that Comboy started feeling symptoms last Thursday after the first round of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He received a coronavirus test Sunday and received the positive diagnosis Tuesday.

McDowell said he was tested Monday and it came back negative. He hasn't felt any symptoms, but he's concerned given the close contact between player and caddie.

"We're a close-knit team. We roomed together last week, we spent six hours in a car," he told Lynch. "He's carrying the virus, so in some way I have to be carrying it too."

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The 2010 U.S. Open champion said he'd be "uncomfortable" staying in Cromwell, Connecticut, for the Travelers despite the negative test and the Tour's efforts to limit COVID-19 risk.

"I think we're trying to do our best out here to mitigate the risk, but at the end of the day it's impossible to mitigate 100 percent of the risk," McDowell said. "The bubble is speculative at best. It's hard for the Tour, even with all their resources, to control everyone all the time."

Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage after testing positive for the coronavirus before the second round, and Cameron Champ was removed from the Travelers field on Tuesday after his own positive test, per CNN.

Any player who contracts COVID-19 is taken out of the current tournament and faces a mandatory 10-day quarantine before becoming eligible to rejoin the Tour.

Although McDowell isn't in that category, he told Lynch he's planning to skip next week's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit before considering a return to play in the Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio, which is scheduled to begin July 9.

The PGA Championship, the first major of the restructured 2020 season, is set to tee off Aug. 6 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

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