CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT – JUNE 26: Matt Wallace of England plays a shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 26, 2020 in Cromwell, Connecticut. Wallace is playing alone after the other two members of his group, Denny McCarthy and Bud Cauley, withdrew from the Travelers Championship on Friday. McCarthy withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test, while Cauley withdrew out of precaution. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Matt Wallace, who the Indian golf fans will recognise as the winner of the 2018 Hero Indian Open, which paved the way for him getting into the elite Top-50 of the world, was left to play his second round of the Travelers Championship all alone. His playing partners withdrew. Denny McCarthy withdrew after a positive Covid test and Bud Cauley dropped out as a precaution. Wallace was not, too, happy about having to play alone.
Asked about he felt, the World No. 47 said, “Just a bit frustrated that maybe — I don’t know what the PGA TOUR might think, but would DJ (Dustin Johnson) play on his own? Would Rory (McIlroy) play on his own? I probably doubt it, so they could have dropped one of the players back from in front or maybe from behind to go ahead and play with me. Just don’t think it was a great move to leave someone out on their own in the middle of the pack.”
Yet, added, “It was all right. Dave (caddie) and I had fun. We missed a bunch of putts out there, so that’s golf, unfortunately, and that’s the way it’s going for me at the moment.”
He also seemed upset at reactions during his wait time and did not like being in spotlight. He said, “… to say the least that some people thought that I may have been positive and they stayed well clear isn’t a nice feeling; let’s put it that way.”
“It’s a strange one. I completely understand the questions and stuff, but no, I don’t believe I should be put in that spotlight at all because I’m the same as everyone else,” he said.
Of Wallace’s two playing partners in the first round, McCarthy tested positive for Covid-19, while Cauley, despite two negative tests, decided to withdraw as a precaution.
Wallace, who with his caddie, also tested negative, decided to carry on and give himself a chance to make the cut after shooting even par 70 in the opening round. As it turned out, he needed a second round of four-under 66, but came well short after a round of 72.
He double bogeyed the Par-3 fifth, birdied the sixth. On the back nine, he bogeyed 15thand 17thand had a lone birdie on 16thand exited.
Wallace said, “All right. I wouldn’t say it’s the end of the world. It hasn’t been the best day. But no, everything ran smoothly, got tested this morning, was kind of a scary sort of hour or so to be here on-site, unknown if I had it or not, but then we found out that Dave (his caddie) and I were both negative, so that was a bonus.
And then, yeah, it was just a bonus to get out on the golf course really for me. I said that to Dave on the first hole. It’s just nice to know that we’re okay and we’re just playing golf. I mean, there’s much worse things than missing the cut, isn’t there, at the moment.”
“We took every safety precaution we could. We’ve done that for the last three weeks. We’ve tested negative again. This is our fourth test, two in the space of four days, five days, and yeah, nothing really else apart from it was quite slow out there.”
Wallace, when asked about Cauley’s withdrawal and whether he had any such thoughts, said, “No, because he said that he (Cauley) didn’t feel good, that he didn’t feel well. I can understand why he wouldn’t play. I haven’t felt better myself. I’m playing with a chance to change my career if I win, so why wouldn’t I play. It’s black and white for me. I tested negative and I can go play.”
On the sequence of events, Wallace explained, “I got a phone call at 8:00 from the TOUR saying Denny and Bud both feel well, and they’ve been tested this morning, so they also had to wait two hours to get their results back. So instantly messaged Dave saying is he okay, we need to go up to the golf course to get tested. He said he felt fine. I was feeling fine. So we came straight up at 9:00, got tested.
And then stayed around here but made sure we stayed away from everyone because we knew potentially that something could happen. It took longer than two hours to get my test, took about two and a half hours, two hours, 45 minutes, and by that time it was my preparation time. But the TOUR did everything they could. They kept me out of the warm-up area, they kept me out of the clubhouse, so I was just waiting until I got my test back, and then I tested negative and I was able to go and practice and prep.
He re-iterated that the decision to play on was his own. He said, “Yeah, but it’s up to me, so clearly it’s my decision. I mean, it’s black and white in my situation. I stayed well clear of them yesterday, no fist bumps, none of that. I’ve done everything at night that I have done the last three weeks while testing negative, I just got some food, stayed in the hotel room, came up here, got tested, tested negative, Dave tested negative, we’re all clean, we went out and played, that’s pretty much it for me.”
As for being in spotlight, an unhappy Wallace said, “I don’t think I should be in any way a negative here. I don’t think I should be put in that spotlight at all. I’ve done everything else that any other player has done and I’ve tested negative. I’m in the same boat that they are. It’s just the fact that the player partner that I had yesterday felt ill last night with whatever they did from leaving us on the golf course because I’m guessing they tested negative at the start of the week to now, where I’m still negative, as well.”
Englishman Wallace, once ranked as high as No. 23 in the world, is now No. 47 on the OWGR. He missed the cut at Charles Schwab and was T-64 at RBC Heritage.