Hit by Covid-19 Scheffler, Horsfield withdraw from US Open; Sabbatini, Grace come in

Sep 15: First Scottie Scheffler and now Sam Horsfield. Both are out of the 120th US Open, ousted by Covid-19. They have withdrawn and their places go to Branden Grace and Rory Sabbatini respectively.

Scheffler, one of the four players in the running for the Rookie of the Year award on the PGA Tour and the latest member of golf’s “59 Club” withdrew after testing positive for Covid-19.

The USGA said Scheffler is asymptomatic and safe at home but has tested positive for the virus and “out of concern for everyone in the championship” has withdrawn.

Scheffler, who shot 59 in the second round of the Northern Trust last month, ended his rookie season on the PGA Tour by finishing fifth in the FedExCup.

“We are sorry to lose a member of the USGA family in this year’s U.S. Open field,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of championships. “Scottie has had a phenomenal rookie season and we look forward to welcoming him back to the US Open Championship for many years to come.”

He was replaced by South African Branden Grace, who shot the lowest round in major championship history with his 62 in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Horsfield won Hero Open, Celtic Classic on way to earning US Open berth

In-form Horsfield earned a place into the US Open field by topping the UK Swing’s mini Order of merit. He won two tittles, first the Hero Open and then the Celtic Classic and was a runaway winner of the UK Swing.

According to the USGA Horsfield tested negative on a pre-arrival test taken last week and travelled to New York for the championship and immediately proceeded to U.S. Open testing. There he received a positive result. He is also asymptomatic and feeling well.

“Sam has had an excellent year on the European Tour, winning the UK series to earn a spot in this year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and we are disappointed to lose a player of his calibre from the field,” said Bodenhamer. “Sam has a wonderful USGA pedigree and we look forward to watching him play in future U.S. Open Championships.”

Horsfield, who competed in the 2015, 2016 and 2019 U.S. Opens, will be replaced in the field by  Sabbatini, 44, from Slovakia, the first alternate as determined by the Official World Golf Ranking as of Aug. 23, 2020.

Horsfield, 24,  was a first-team All-American and All-South-eastern Conference selection at the University of Florida. He has played in five different USGA championships, including four U.S. Amateurs and three U.S. Junior Amateurs.

Sabbatini, who was No. 92 in the OWGR as of Aug. 23, will play in his 13th U.S. Open. His best finish was a tie for 30th in 2011 at Congressional Country Club, in Bethesda, Md.

Sabbatini has won six PGA Tour events and was a member of the 2007 Presidents Cup International Team. He tied for second in the 2007 Masters.

The 120th U.S. Open will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club (West Course), in Mamaroneck, N.Y., Sept. 17-20, 2020.

Read also:

Higgs, Hovland, McNealy and Scheffler nominated for PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year

Horsfield leads band of 10 from UK Swing to US Open

Horsfield wins Hero Open for maiden European Tour title

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