July 8: Four of the six PGA Tour players, who have returned positive cases thus far, will be in action this week at the Workday Charity Open. While Cameron Champ, who was the second player – after Nick Watney – to return a positive test, played last week after getting three negative results thereafter, Watney, Denny McCarthy and Dylan Frittelli, have still returned positive tests, but will tee up at Muirfield Village this week.
The trio will play the first and second rounds together as a group, but will not have access to indoor facilities on site. They have been allowed to return as the symptom-based model was implemented.
In a statement on Wednesday, the PGA Tour said that “…. at the inception of the PGA TOUR Health and Safety Plan, the TOUR’s policy for all positive test results for players and caddies required a minimum 10-day self-isolation period, based on the Centers for Disease Control’s time-based protocols.”
Then on July 1, the PGA Tour, “…transitioned to a test-based model for asymptomatic cases. Therefore, in accordance with CDC guidelines, a player or caddie who tests positive for COVID-19 but has not had any symptoms may return to competition if he returns two negative tests results, a minimum of 24 hours apart.”
The statement added: “For clarity regarding players and caddies who tested positive for COVID-19 and were symptomatic – in accordance with CDC “Return to Work” guidelines and in consultation with the PGA TOUR Medical Advisor and infectious disease experts – cases in which a player or caddie tested positive and continues to test positive, the TOUR follows a symptom-based model, as outlined by the CDC, allowing for him to return to competition if:
- At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
The TOUR’s medical advisors and the CDC have indicated that PCR tests have shown a possibility of detecting viral RNA even after the infectious virus is no longer present. This would potentially become a persistent positive test result, despite the individual not being contagious.
The Tour goes on to add, “Out of an abundance of caution, however, any player or caddie who meets the above criteria but continues to return a positive COVID-19 test will either compete as a single in competition or be grouped with players under the same situation, and he will also have no access to indoor facilities on site.”
So, this week at the Workday Charity Open, Dylan Frittelli, Denny McCarthy and Nick Watney will follow the symptom-based model, as they have continued to return positive tests but meet the CDC guidelines for Return to Work. The three will play together in rounds one and two.
Watney was the first player to withdraw from an event due to a positive COVID-19 test. He pulled out before the second round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina. McCarthy withdrew after 18 holes at the Travelers Championship, while Frittelli withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive prior to boarding the Tour charter following the Travelers.
Players, who fall under the symptom-based category must play alongside fellow pros in the same situation or on their own. It may be recalled Jason Day played the third round of the Travelers Championship as a single after reporting symptoms but returned a negative test result.