Three PGA Tour golfers test positive for coronavirus, withdraw from the RSM Classic

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The PGA Tour is facing a new COVID-19 outbreak, just one week after the rescheduled Masters tournament.

Three golfers — Kramer Hickok, Henrik Norlander and Bill Haas — all withdrew from the RSM Classic this week at Sea Island in Georgia after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Haas tested first on Tuesday and withdrew from the event, and was replaced by Hickok — who was the first alternate. Hickok and Norlander then both tested positive on Wednesday.

“Obviously, I am very disappointed that I will not be able to play this week, as I am playing well and love the courses at Sea Island,” Hickok said in a statement. “Nonetheless, I look forward to returning to the RSM Classic next year.”

Norlander said he started experiencing symptoms on Tuesday night, and then tested positive on Wednesday morning. He is now headed home to self isolate.

“While I’m disappointed to withdraw from a tournament where I’ve had success at in the past, I’m grateful I can drive home to Augusta and have next week to get healthy and be ready to compete again,” he said in a statement.

The two will be replaced by Rhein Gibson and Ryan Brehm.

Haas, 38, has won six times on the PGA Tour, most recently in 2015. He’s made the cut just once in four attempts so far this season. Hickok, 28, has yet to win on Tour but took T8 at the Bermuda Championship earlier this month, his best finish. Norlander, 33, missed his last two cuts but took T4 at the Sanderson Farms Championship last season, his best finish since 2017.

PGA Tour’s latest big outbreak

Only 16 players had tested positive for the coronavirus headed into this week since play resumed in June, and many had come in sporadically.

Joaquin Niemann was the last person to test positive, which forced him to withdraw from the Masters last week. Harry Higgs, Adam Scott and reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson all had to withdraw from events after contracting the coronavirus last month, too.

This new outbreak at Sea Island, however, is the first major outbreak at one tournament that the Tour has seen in months — and it comes at a time when cases are spiking around the country.

There have been more than 11.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Wednesday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 250,000 deaths attributed to it. There were more than 159,500 new cases on Tuesday alone, and the country is now averaging a record-high 158,000 new cases a day over the past week.

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