Scott hit by Covid, pulls out of Zozo

Scott hit by Covid, pulls out of Zozo

LOS ANGELES • Australian Adam Scott has withdrawn from the Zozo Championship after testing positive for Covid-19, the PGA Tour said on Wednesday.

Scott, the winner of 14 PGA Tour titles, last competed in last month’s US Open and was expected to be among the biggest names at the tournament, which started yesterday and was relocated from Japan to Thousand Oaks, California, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“While it’s difficult news to receive – as I really looked forward to playing this week – my focus now is on recovery for the final stretch of the fall,” said the world No. 15, who won the Masters in 2013.

First alternate Jim Herman, who won the Wyndham Championship in August, will replace Scott in the competition, the Tour said.

The pandemic has wiped out the circuit’s Asian swing – last weekend’s CJ Cup was moved from South Korea to Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, while the WGC-HSBC Champions, originally set for next week in Shanghai, has been cancelled.

Both events as well as the Zozo Championship, which debuted as Japan’s first PGA-sanctioned tournament, are expected to return to their respective host countries next year.

There are still two more warm-up events before the Nov 12-15 Masters, but for many stars, Zozo may be their last event before they head for Augusta National.

Since the Tour’s restart in June after a three-month hiatus, fans have been barred from attending and it is the same case at Zozo.

But the Tour is planning to allow for a limited crowd of 2,000 people at the Houston Open, which ends just four days before the Masters.

While five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson believes the circuit can pull off its first event with fans amid the pandemic, it is a risk he is unlikely to take on, especially with the year’s third Major occurring so soon after.

Revealing he was leaning towards giving Houston a skip, he said: “The PGA Tour has done an incredible job of getting the players to compete in a safe environment.

“I think they’ve done a phenomenal job of having us feel safe. I think they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open.

“However, for me personally, I don’t like the risk of having that happen the week before the Masters. I just feel like the week before the Masters, that’s a big tournament we have and I just don’t want to have any risk heading in there.

“So it has made me question whether or not I’ll play there. I don’t go out and socialise because I want to make sure I have an opportunity to compete in the Masters.”

Separately, the Dec 10-13 US Women’s Open will be held without fans this year, the United States Golf Association said.

The tournament, which is in its 75th year and is the oldest of the five women’s Majors, was previously rescheduled from June and will be held at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS