Hideki Matsuyama withdraws from Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19

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Hideki Matsuyama was forced to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Friday after he tested positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour announced.

Matsuyama did not start the second round with playing partners Phil Mickelson or Rickie Fowler on Friday. Those two instead continued on alone at Detroit Golf Club, and are not required to do contact tracing under PGA Tour policy.

Matsuyama, who posted an even-70 on Thursday, is now isolating. It is unclear if he has received a COVID-19 vaccine or not.

“It’s disappointing to receive this news and have to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic,” Matsuyama said in a statement, via the PGA Tour. “I will take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all others. I appreciate and thank everyone for their concern in advance. I look forward to a full recovery and returning to competition as soon as possible.”

Can Hideki return in time for British Open, Olympics?

Matsuyama’s positive test comes at a tough time for the reigning Masters champion.

Matsuyama did not play last week at the Travelers Championship, and last competed at the U.S. Open. He was set to compete in the British Open in two weeks at Royal St. George’s, but that appearance could now be in doubt — especially considering the tough coronavirus protocols the R&A announced for the event.

Players at the final major championship of the year won’t be allowed to share accommodations, must submit to coronavirus testing even if they are vaccinated, can’t visit stores, pubs or restaurants and more — even though all of those things are currently allowed on the Tour.

“I’m going to go because it’s the British Open," one anonymous player told GolfWeek of the restrictions. "But I certainly thought about not going. I just can’t believe with the numerous examples of successfully run, safely held tournaments and majors here that they can’t figure out a better situation."

The British Open starts on July 15, which gives Matsuyama just under two weeks. Whether he can both be cleared physically to play and be prepared to play, however, is still up in the air.

Just two weeks after the British Open, Matsuyama was set to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics. While that is likely more obtainable for him coronavirus-wise, it does involve yet another international trip he has to make to compete. That could undoubtedly complicate things even further, depending on how long he is sidelined.

Hideki Matsuyama at the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic
Hideki Matsuyama's positive test comes just weeks before both the British Open and the Olympics. (Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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