In a bizarre revelation, fellow PGA Tour star Nick Watney confided with World No. 1 Rory McIlroy before being officially confirmed as testing positive with the Coronavirus.
The Tour released a statement late on day two of the RBC Heritage Classic that the 39-year old and five-time Tour winning Watney had symptoms consistent with the illness early Friday and consulted a physician. He was tested and found to be positive.
Watney had posted a first round 74 and then appeared at the tail of the field with ‘WD’ alongside his name.
The Tour’s health protocols call for contact tracing of anyone who was in contact with Watney, including his playing partners for the first round Luke List and Vaughan Taylor.
Watney, a father of four, was among the 369 tests the Tour administered earlier this week that were all negative.
However it was not until just after 5pm local time Friday that the World No. 1 ranked McIlroy revealed Watney had texted him just moments after McIlroy had posted a second round 65 on the Harbour Town course at Hilton Head.
“Nick texted me actually just minutes ago because we had a chat on the putting green before I went out to play,” said McIlroy.
“We were at a distance. He was just saying, look, I hope I didn’t get too close to you. He feels badly that he was here today at the golf course.
“I said, look, it’s fine. You never know. So I said to him, if I was in your position, I probably would have been here too. Look, at this point, you just have to concentrate on getting better and getting healthy.
“But it sucks for him especially. You know, if you contract it, that’s fine, but then it’s the fact that who have you come into contact with, and who you might have exposed and stuff.
“Look, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Until this thing’s over, we all just have to stay vigilant and keep your distance and wear our masks if we’re going out in public and keep washing our hands.”
And before heading off the course, McIlroy was asked if he still had confidence in the Tour’s testing procedures in just this second event since a three-month lockdown.
“Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah, when I do the things I’m supposed to do and I’m at the tournament site, I feel very safe, yeah.”
We wish Nick Watney all the best with his recovery.