Masters champ Matsuyama tests positive for COVID-19

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has been forced out of the Rocket Mortgage Classic following a positive test for COVID-19.

The 29-year-old played the first round of the Detroit tournament alongside Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, shooting 2-under 70 in his first event back on Tour since last month’s US Open.

Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama (Credit: PGA Tour)

“It’s disappointing to receive this news and have to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic,” said Matsuyama last Friday.

“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.”

On its own, Matsuyama’s positive result is mildly annoying but with the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in the UK just two weeks away, the news couldn’t come at a worse time for the Japanese star.

And it’s not just Matsuyama, who is concerned about being able to play in the last major of the year.

“I’m certainly concerned because although I’ve made every effort to not be around people…because you just don’t know. I think it’s a concern on whether Hideki-san is able to play the British Open. Hopefully, he can,” said first-round playing partner, Phil Mickelson.

“We’re at the point now where if you were to come down with COVID, like you can’t go to the UK and play. That’s why we’re all being so careful. I’ve been vaccinated, but still, people who have been vaccinated still get it.”

Ironically, the positive result came in the final month of the PGA Tour’s COVID-19 weekly testing program. The Tour has announced that all testing will end in late July ahead of the 3M Open.