Northern Irishman Ricky Elliot has become the latest positive result for coronavirus on the PGA Tour, prompting his employer, Brooks Koepka to withdraw from this week’s Travelers Championship.
World No.4 Koepka told Golfweek that he has taken the decision to pull out of the tournament after Elliot returned a positive result after a test on Wednesday.
The bagman had tested negative only 48-hours earlier upon arrival at the tournament but the Tour has ramped up testing as promised and a subsequent sample proved positive on Wednesday morning at TPC River Highlands.
“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else,” Koepka told Golfweek.
“I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this Tour can continue is if guys do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”
Elliott, Koepka and his coach Claude Harmon were all tested after playing in a practice round with Graeme McDowell on Tuesday. McDowell’s caddie, Ken Comboy tested positive for the virus after the round with McDowell since withdrawing, citing the same reasons as Koepka.
The four-time Major winner highlighted just how quickly things can develop with the ultra-contagious virus.
“We all got tested Monday—myself, Claude and Ricky. We all came back negative,” Koepka said. “We had no symptoms. Nothing.”
It was at Oak Hill in 2013 when Elliot first linked up with the imposing Koepka. It was meant to be a one-week only affair but the potential Elliot witnessed in Koepka meant he couldn’t walk away easily. The American, who had come over from the Challenge Tour, made the cut that week and played with Tiger Woods for the final round.
The newly established pair swiftly hit it off with Koepka’s coach asking the Northern Irishman if he fancied picking up the bag a few more times that year in Europe. The word ‘yes’ was never so quickly uttered. Four majors later, it’s no wonder Koepka is sticking by his man now.
“Ricky has my full support in this,” he said. “I feel bad for him.”
“We have got to do everything we can to not spread it. We have to protect the field. That’s the reason we have these rules.”
If the Tour wasn’t reeling already in the face of this virus, it must be now. Elliot joins Nick Watney, Cameron Champ and Ken Comboy with all four now in isolation as they attempt to stop the spread of this virus. We wish them all the best in their recovery.
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