Open Champion Shane Lowry is calling for PGA Tour support despite negativity surrounding the withdrawal of a number of players from this week’s Travelers Championship due to COVID-19 related issues.
American Cameron Champ withdrew earlier in the week after testing positive while Graeme McDowell along with four-time Major winning Brooks Koepka each withdrew after their caddies tested positive.
Koepka’s younger brother, Chase then withdrew in support for his brother while on the eve of the Connecticut event the Tour was rocked when Webb Simpson, winner of last week’s RBC Heritage, withdrew as a member of his family tested positive for Coronavirus symptoms.
Lowry spoke of his alarm in learning the news of both Ken Comboy, who caddies for McDowell, and also fellow Irishman Ricky Elliott who caddies for Koepka withdrawing after testing positive.
“I found out on Tuesday evening about Kenny, Graeme’s caddie, and I’d spent a little bit of time around Graeme, but Graeme hadn’t seen him since last week,” said Lowry following his first round 66.
“We had played a practice round with Brooks, Chase and Ricky Elliott, who was caddying for Brooks who obviously got it as well, and he tested positive yesterday morning.
“Ricky actually called me himself. I couldn’t really believe it. To be honest I thought he was messing with me because he is kind of like that sometimes.
“Then as the guys pulled out I contacted the Tour pretty quickly because I asked them what they think I should do because I wanted to do the right thing.
“I don’t think I was within enough contact with Ricky over the course of the nine holes we played on Tuesday but we’re just taking precautions. I’m not going near the clubhouse all week, I wear my mask into scoring, I’m not allowed in for lunch now. I’m kind of just being as cautious as I can.
“But like I said, I spoke to Jay (Monahan – PGA Tour Commissioner) yesterday evening here at the club, and he said that I’m good to play.
“So I’m here to play, and I think it’s obviously disappointing that a few people have got it, but not that it’s inevitable, but it’s the world we’re living in at the minute, and I think we kind of need to keep it to a minimum.
“I’ve also seen a lot of media coverage that is quite negative, and I don’t like it.
“I think the PGA Tour, Jay, everybody involved has done a great job, and I as a professional golfer am very happy to be back to work and to be providing some entertainment for some people at home.”
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