PGA Tour veteran Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, the US tour said in a statement.
Watney, who shot a three-over-par 74 in Thursday’s opening round at Harbour Town, was tested for the coronavirus early Friday after complaining of symptoms, the tour said.
The 39-year-old American is the first player on tour to test positive for the coronavirus since play resumed in Texas last week.
Watney is now self-isolating while the tour has started tracing all those who had been in contact with him during this week’s event at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Watney played with Vaughn Taylor and Luke List in the first round. Both were told during Friday’s round.
“I was a little shocked, to be honest,” Taylor said, according to Golf Digest. “Heart started racing, got a little nervous. Just hope Nick’s doing well and we get through this.”
Both players and their caddies were to be tested on Friday.
“Yeah, it was hard to concentrate out there for me, just thinking about different stuff, and I wasn’t playing my best anyway,” said List, who said he would rather have been informed after his round.
World number one Rory McIlroy and former No. 1 Brooks Koepka both saw Watney in passing at the course – Koepka in the parking lot on Friday morning and McIlroy on the putting green.
“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines,” the Tour said in a statement.
“For the health and well-being of all associated with the tournament and those within the community, the tour has begun implementing its response plan in consultation with medical experts, including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick.”
The RBC Heritage is taking place without spectators as the PGA Tour feels its way back after shutting down in March as the coronavirus pandemic erupted.