Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell out of Travelers; caddies positive for COVID-19

Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell withdrew from the Travelers Championship on Wednesday after their caddies tested positive for the coronavirus.

McDowell, who never arrived on the grounds at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., became the third golfer to withdraw from a PGA Tour event due to the coronavirus, though he himself was not positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

Early Wednesday, Koepka became the fourth. The No. 4-ranked player in the world said his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive. Koepka was scheduled to be tested again but had not yet returned a positive COVID-19 test. Elliott recently spent time with McDowell and Ken Comboy, McDowell’s caddie, during a practice round per Golf Digest.

“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Koepka told Golfweek on Wednesday. “I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this Tour can continue is if guys to do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”

Koepka is coming off of a top-10 finish at RBC Heritage.

McDowell was due to undergo another test Wednesday morning before flying home to Florida from Connecticut.

“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,” McDowell told Golfweek. “I’m going to get myself out of here, home to Florida and decide whether I need to quarantine myself from my family.”

Comboy experienced commonly associated symptoms for the coronavirus last week. His positive test was taken Tuesday.

Brooks Koepka
May 12, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Brooks Koepka waves to the gallery after making a birdie on the fifteen hole during the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at Trinity Forest Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

David Hearn was named as McDowell’s replacement for this week’s tournament, the third PGA Tour event since golf returning from a coronavirus-driven hiatus that began in March.

McDowell missed the cut last week at the RBC Heritage and attended a funeral on June 15 with Comboy.

“I’d been through a huge amount emotionally and mentally, and a couple of weeks back into it after a few months off you’re going to be a little tired getting your golf legs back,” McDowell said in Golfweek. “But the alarm bells have started to ring now that Kenny has failed this test. We’re a close-knit team. We roomed together last week. We spent six hours in a car. He’s carrying the virus, so in some way I have to be carrying it, too.”

Cameron Champ withdrew from the Travelers on Tuesday after a positive test and Nick Watney tested positive during the RBC Heritage last week.

–Field Level Media