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Webb Simpson, Cameron Champ return to PGA Tour after COVID-19-related withdraws

Webb Simpson teed off for the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic Thursday in Detroit after he withdrew from last week's Travelers Championship. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

July 2 (UPI) -- World No. 6 Webb Simpson and No. 80 Cameron Champ returned Thursday for the PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic after they withdrew from the Travelers Championship eight days ago due to coronavirus-related precautions.

Simpson withdrew from the Travelers because a family member tested positive for COVID-19 while Champ himself tested positive.


Simpson, 34, won the RBC Heritage before he withdrew from the Travelers three days later. The PGA Tour said he withdrew "out of an abundance of caution." Simpson was tested twice for COVID-19 before the first round of the Travelers and tested negative each time. He said he would "quarantine under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines."

He tweeted Saturday that his entire family has since tested negative for the coronavirus. Simpson teed off with Rickie Fowler and Nate Lashley at 7:45 a.m. EDT Thursday on hole No. 10 at Detroit Golf Club.

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Champ, 25, was the only player in the field who tested positive for COVID-19 last week at TPC River Highlands -- prior to the first round of the tournament. No. 181 Denny McCarthy and No. 245 Nick Watney also tested positive for COVID-19 but withdrew after the first round.

No. 5 Brooks Koepka, No. 53 Graeme McDowell, No. 132 Bud Cauley and No. 1,563 Chase Koepka joined Simpson, McCarthy, Watney and Champ as withdraws from last week's Travelers.

McDowell's caddie and Brooks Koepka's caddie also tested positive for the coronavirus at the Travelers. Cauley played in the same group as McCarthy. Chase Koepka practiced with his brother Brooks and McDowell before the Travelers.

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Dylan Frittelli also has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The PGA Tour announced his positive test Sunday after he missed the cut at the Travelers.

Brooks Koepka, Chase Koepka, Frittelli, McDowell, McCarthy and Watney are not in the field for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. No. 139 Harris English and No. 716 Chad Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-tournament screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic. They have withdrawn from the four-day tournament.

The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that it will allow players or caddies who test positive -- but are asymptomatic -- to return to competition if they return two negative tests, which are taken at least 24 hours apart. The PGA Tour required a 10-day self-isolation period before the rule change. The alteration allowed Champ's entrance in the Rocket Mortgage Classic after he returned three negative tests in 72 hours.

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Champ tees off at 2:10 p.m. EDT Thursday in Detroit. The Rocket Mortgage Classic runs through Sunday at Detroit Golf Club.