COVID Protocols Force a Healthy Hideki Matsuyama to WD From The Open

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama on the 2nd tee box during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on May 14, 2021 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, TX. (Photo by George Walker - Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hideki Matsuyama has officially withdrawn from The Open, citing his inability to prepare for the season’s final major due to the strict protocols put in place by the R&A.

Matsuyama, the reigning Masters champion, was told he’d tested positive for the coronavirus on July 2 in Detroit, ahead of Friday’s second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

According to the R&A, the Japanese star has been in quarantine since that positive result but has not experienced symptoms. He continues to test positive for the virus, though.

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” Matsuyama said in a statement released by the R&A.

“Combining that with the difficult travel to the UK, my team and I have decided it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety.

“I feel badly missing The Open and look forward to playing again at St Andrews next year.

“I’d like to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return to the game I love as soon as possible.”

Matsuyama will be replaced by Harold Varner III, who is playing in this week’s John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

As we noted previously, the R&A has implemented uber-strict protocols for The 149th Open, which would have required Matsuyama to test negative for coronavirus 72 hours before arriving in England.

The next three players on the R&A’s reserve list for The Open are all Americans: Brendan Steele, John Catlin and Adam Long.


  1. One by one they’re dropping out of the Open. I don’t blame them a bit. I’m really surprised that more golfers haven’t dropped out of the Olympics due to their strict protocols and no fans allowed on the premises. Matsuyama probably feels that he must stay in Japan instead, as he’s obligated to represent Japan in the Olympics – whether he wants to or not.


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