Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama withdraws from Open after positive Covid test

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Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s due to Covid-19.

Matsuyama tested positive ahead of the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 2 and has been self-isolating since.

He is currently symptom-free but subsequent PCR tests have continued to show positive results.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama has been self-isolating since early July (Richard Sellers/PA)

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” said Matsuyama in a statement.

“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.”

Matsuyama, 29, has been replaced in the field by American Harold Varner.

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Brendan Steele, John Catlin and Adam Long are the next players on the reserve list, while three places in the field are up for grabs on Sunday in the abrdn Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club.

A total of eight players have now withdrawn from the Open for various reasons, with Kevin Na citing international travel requirements for his decision to miss the year’s final major.

The R&A recently informed players that the championship will “operate under strict government oversight”, with guidelines which prohibit players from going to bars, restaurants and supermarkets during tournament week.

They also have to stay in either approved hotels or private accommodation, which can be shared between up to four members of their team, but not with other players.

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