The Open: Former champ withdraws after positive COVID test

The Open Royal St Georges

Another day, another batch of withdrawals from this week’s Open Championship.

The 2015 champion Zach Johnson will play no part in the 149th edition of golf’s oldest major after testing positive for COVID-19.

South Africa’s Louis de Jager has also returned a positive test for the coronavirus and will not feature at Royal St George’s.

Former Ryder Cup player Ryan Moore is out, too. The 38-year-old American earned one of the final spots in the field courtesy of his joint runner-up finish in the John Deere Classic at the weekend but, still struggling with a back injury that has plagued him for most of 2021, he has turned it down to go on a planned family holiday instead.  

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The trio are replaced in the field by Adam Long, Dylan Frittelli and Sam Horsfield, with Wade Ormsby, Matthieu Pavon and Ross Fisher now the next three names on the reserve list.

This brings the total number of withdrawals from the championship to 16.

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama was forced to pull out at the weekend as he continues to return positive COVID-19 tests after initially coming down with the virus prior to the second round of the of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit on July 2. The Japanese ace has been in quarantine ever since and is currently symptom-free.

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Bubba Watson has also been forced to pull out after being identified as a close contact of somebody who has returned a positive test. Other big names to sit out the battle for the Claret Jug include Matthew Wolff, Kevin Na and Danny Lee.

The COVID-delayed 149th Open Championship gets underway at Royal St George’s this Thursday, where Shane Lowry will attempt to successfully defend the title he won at Royal Portrush in 2019.

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