Second COVID-19 case raises PGA caution

Darren Walton
Cameron Champ has become the second golfer on the PGA Tour to test positive for COVID-19

Australian golfer Matt Jones can feel the tension in the locker room rising as coronavirus creeps its way onto the US PGA Tour.

American Cameron Champ withdrew from this week's Travelers Championship in Connecticut after testing positive for COVID-19 during pre-tournament screening.

A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Champ is the second known member of the elite golf tour to fall victim to the virus after countryman Nick Watney's positive return on Friday.

"I feel great physically and I was obviously surprised and disappointed to learn of the test result," Champ said.

"It's important now to take the necessary steps and measures to protect others, including my loved ones."

Jones, the reigning Australian Open champion and only Australian to make the half-way cut at the past two PGA Tour events, said the coronavirus crisis had most definitely raised anxiety levels among the players.

"There's a lot of talk about it," he said during a teleconference on Wednesday.

"I don't know if it's nerves, but everyone is very cautious.

"No one wants to catch it and be one of the players that catches it and then spreads it to other players.

"I mean, we're all out here playing for a living, too, so missing two weeks of tournaments right now is pretty important so no one wants to have to deal with that.

"But if we're smart and we do the right things like we've been directed to do - and we're not out at a bar drinking like a couple of players or caddies have done - I think we'll all be pretty good if we just listen to what the guidelines that they've given us are and just be smart about everything."

This week's event at TPC River Highlands is the third of five stops on the PGA Tour's revamped schedule that is closed to the general public in a bid to help stem the spread of the virus.

According to a PGA Tour participant resource guide, anyone who tests positive will be quarantined while a "disinfecting/decontaminating response" is implemented.

The guide also said at-home tests before travelling to a tournament were "strongly encouraged" but not required.

Upon arriving at a tournament, all players and caddies must proceed to a testing site to receive a nasal swab test and thermal screening.

Only once a negative test result is received will players be issued a wristband or lanyard that grants them access to the locker room and clubhouse.