Sandwich, England: Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from The 149th Open at Royal St George’s.
The news will come as a big blow to fans of the two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship winner in his native Japan, where he has been hailed since becoming his country’s first male Major champion by winning the Masters Tournament in April.
Matsuyama tested positive for the Covid-19 virus prior to the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 2.
He has been in quarantine since then and is currently symptom-free. However, subsequent PCR tests have continued to show positive results.
“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open. Combining that with the difficult travel to the United Kingdom, my team and I have decided it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Matsuyama.
“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.”
The Japanese will be replaced in the starting line-up at Royal St George’s on Thursday by Harold Varner III of the United States of America.
Meanwhile, a trio of top Koreans have also pulled out of the year’s final Major championship for men.
Im Sung-jae and Kim Si-woo have withdrawn to focus on preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Also conspicuous by his absence will be Kim Joo-hyung, who cited international travel requirements as the reason for his withdrawal.