Updates at 4:09 p.m. with new information:
Webb Simpson, the Wake Forest alumnus and winner of last week's RBC Heritage Classic, has withdrawn from the Travelers Championship beginning Thursday in Hartford, Conn.
"In the last 24 hours, I have had a family member test positive for COVID-19," Simpson said in a statement, according to GolfChannel.com's Will Gray. "While my tests this week were negative, I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of my family and protect my peers in the field by withdrawing from the Travelers Championship. I am going to return home to Charlotte and quarantine under CDC guidelines, and I look forward to returning to competition after that time period."
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan this afternoon announced more protocols for the Tour.
“This has been a big adjustment for everybody," Monahan said, according to the Hartford Courant. "I think everybody’s intentions have been very good. They’ve taken their responsibility seriously. I don’t question that at all. … I think over the first couple weeks we’ve seen some instances where we’ve gotten a little bit lax or away from protocol.”
The caddies for Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell have tested positive for the coronavirus, leading both major champions to withdraw today from the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
“The snowball is getting a little bit bigger,” McDowell said as he began the 1,200-mile drive from the TPC River Highlands to his home in Orlando, Fla.
Commissioner Jay Monahan has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. today.
Golf.com reported that Monahan announced changes to safety protocols and sent a memo to players today, asking them to treat the situation as a “wake-up call” and including adjustments to the Tour’s plans.
McDowell tested negative, though he suspects he has the virus and decided to drive home to start his self-isolation. He said Ricky Elliott, a longtime friend from Northern Ireland and Koepka's caddie, received a positive result and that Koepka has withdrawn.
Cameron Champ tested positive Tuesday, the second player to test positive in the last five days. Still to come are results from all players, caddies and essential personnel at the Travelers Championship, the third tournament since the PGA Tour ended its three-month shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McDowell played a practice round Tuesday with Koepka and British Open champion Shane Lowry. McDowell said he heard from Lowry, whose test was negative.
“The problem is, people are out here passing tests when they could still have the virus,” McDowell said. “That's what we're learning. Ricky passed a test on Monday, and he just failed it this morning.”
McDowell's caddie, Ken Comboy, never made it to Connecticut. McDowell missed the cut last week at the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island, S.C. He felt a sore throat and reported it on the daily questionnaire, and then Comboy drove back to Hilton Head from Orlando to take another test. That was the quickest way to get the results, and he received them Tuesday night while waiting to fly.
McDowell says he was at a memorial service on June 15 with Comboy, Elliott and McDowell's trainer, after which they drove up to Hilton Head.
McDowell said he was feeling a little fatigued at the end of last week, which he wrote off to having not competed in a tournament for three months and then playing two straight weeks.
“I had been feeling a little off color, but not with alarm bells ringing until Kenny failed,” he said.
The PGA Tour's return to tournaments started with a perfect record — 487 tests for players arriving at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas; 98 players on the charter flight to South Carolina; 369 tests at Hilton Head Island. All came back negative.
Nick Watney was the first player to test positive, on Friday at the RBC Heritage. Watney, who had tested negative three days earlier, asked to be tested again when his Whoop wristband — which measures various health metrics — showed an increase in his respiratory rate.
Justin Thomas, who also wears the wristband, said the tour has acquired Whoop straps for players and caddies.
“It’s crazy to say, but (without) his Whoop device we could have been screwed right now because he could have played the rest of the week and ended up contaminating or infecting many other people,” Thomas said Wednesday.
Will Ahmed, the CEO and founder of Whoop, said the tour has acquired more than 1,000 of the straps and that the company was working to integrate the straps with “everyone in the PGA Tour universe.”
McDowell said he would take two weeks off and hoped to return in July for the first of two weeks in Ohio. But that depends on if the PGA Tour is still going on.
“Do we shut down, start up in a month's time, two months' time? You come back and what's changed,” McDowell said. “I think the tour is doing a pretty good job. It's just so difficult to control everybody outside the gates.
“We have to get through to the other side of this.”