Hotshot Scottie Scheffler has had to withdraw from this week’s U.S Open after testing positive for Covid-19, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said on Sunday.
According to the statement “Scheffler is asymptomatic and safe at home but has tested positive for Covid-19 and out of concern for everyone in the championship has withdrawn.”
“We are sorry to lose a member of the USGA family in this year’s U.S Open field,” said John Bodenhammer, the USGA’s senior managing director for championships.
Scheffler is the first known COVID-19-related scratch for the event, which will be golf's second major since the PGA Tour's June restart. He will be replaced by Branden Grace, who was the first player to test positive for COVID-19 following the restart.
24-year-old Scheffler, a very strong contender for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has been playing stellar golf since the sport resumed in June. The American finished fourth at last month’s PGA Championship and fifth at the Tour Championships two weeks ago.
Currently at world number 29, Scheffler shot a spectacular 59 en route to a fourth-place finish in the FedExCup playoffs opener at TPC Boston.
Scheffler becomes the second player on the PGA Tour to test positive
“We are sorry to lose a member of the USGA family in this year’s field,” said the USGA senior managing director John Bodenhamer. “We look forward to welcoming him back to the U.S. Open for many years to come.”
Scheffler was entering the event with 40-1 odds to win after finishing with seven top-10s in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. The former University of Texas star played particularly well over the last two months after a streak of three missed cuts following the June restart. He finished 22nd at the Memorial, tied for 15th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, tied for fourth at the PGA Championship and continued surging during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Scheffler will be replaced in the field by South African Branden Grace.
The U.S Open golf championship starts on Thursday at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York. The tournament was postponed from June and qualifying was wiped out due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
A field of 144 – the smallest since 1932 — was selected by exemption categories. It is the first time the U.S Open will be played outside of June since 1931.
Scheffler has played in three US Opens and was the low amateur when he tied for 27th at Erin Hills in 2017.