Nick Watney became the PGA Tour’s first player to test positive for coronavirus on Friday during the second round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.
But, did the PGA Tour try to cover up the positive test? Or at least minimize it?
A Coronavirus Cover Up?
In a statement released at least an hour after the news was first broke by Golf Digest, the Tour said, “PGA Tour member Nick Watney has withdrawn from the RBC Heritage prior to the second round after testing positive for COVID-19. On Friday, prior to arriving at the tournament, he indicated he had symptoms consistent with the illness and after consulting with a physician, was administered a test and found to be positive.”
However, it turns out Watney was actually at the course on Friday morning warming up.
“I found out when we were playing 17. … I saw him this morning. I was right next to him in the parking lot,” said Brooks Keopka after his round.
“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,” said Rory McIlroy, who confirmed that he was on the practice green with Watney on Friday morning.
During the Golf Channel broadcast, Trevor Immelman said he thought that Watney looked ill during Thursday’s first round.
Watney shot 74 in the first round, playing alongside Luke List and Vaughn Taylor.
Both of those players said after Friday’s round that the news made them nervous, but they felt confident that they were okay.
The PGA Tour has released no further statements on the matter since issuing the press release.
Andy Johnson, of The Fried Egg, tweeted late on Friday that he was, “Hearing rumors that Nick Watney might not be the only positive test…”
Saturday morning has a chance to be very interesting when it comes to testing and testing results.
Other Golf media take note:
GolfNewsRI is not the only ones who have pointed this out.
GolfWeek columnist Eamon Lynch tweets, “The PGA Tour statement says Nick Watney reported symptoms before arriving at the golf course Friday. Yet one witness tells me Watney was with his caddie, Tony Navarro, on the range today standing next to Si Woo Kim. Watney was on his phone then left the range.”
SkySports reporter Jamie Weir added, “Rory McIlroy has just confirmed that, contrary to what the PGA Tour say, Nick Watney WAS at the golf course today. They were on the practice putting green at the same time. Why the Tour cover-up? Transparency surely key with something like this.”