Sam Horsfield (24) joins Scottie Scheffler as the second player to withdraw from this week's event because of a positive test. The PGA Tour had previously gone six straight weeks of competition without a player testing positive.
Scheffler is the first known COVID-19-related scratch for the event, which will be golf's second major since the PGA Tour's June restart. He will be replaced by South African Branden Grace, who was the first player to test positive for COVID-19 following the restart.
Scheffler was entering the event with 40-1 odds to win after finishing with seven top-10s in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. The former University of Texas star played particularly well over the last two months after a streak of three missed cuts following the June restart.
He finished 22nd at the Memorial, tied for 15th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, tied for fourth at the PGA Championship and continued surging during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Another day, another player
The Englishmen announced his decision on Twitter, saying: “Unfortunately, despite testing negative last Thursday prior to travelling to New York, I have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 at the U.S.
Open testing centre and have therefore had to withdraw from the tournament. It goes without saying that I am hugely disappointed to not have the opportunity to play in my 4th U.S. Open but clearly the safety of the tournament and other players is paramount.
I want to wish everyone all the best for a great week at Winged Foot and thank all the staff at the USGA & PGA Tour in helping me navigate the situation. I am pleased to say that I am currently asymptomatic and feeling well, but in line with CDC Guidelines, I will be notifying those I have been in contact with and self-isolating until I can produce a negative test with a view to returning to tournament play ASAP.
Best, Sam” Horsfield was viewed as a potential sleeper pick for this week’s U.S. Open given his successful run in Europe since golf resumed. He earned his first European Tour victory at the Hero Open in August, then two weeks later won again at the Celtic Classic.
He finished second on the U.K. Swing points list, with the top 10 players qualifying for Winged Foot, and had moved up to No. 81 in the world. Horsfield will be replaced in the field by Rory Sabbatini, who will make his 13th U.S.
Open start. The alternate list is based off the Aug. 23 world rankings, meaning that former U.S. Amateur champ Doc Redman is now first alternate.