Ian Poulter and Jordan Spieth not surprised after Nick Watney tests positive for coronavirus
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/06/20 7:44am
Ian Poulter and Jordan Spieth both insisted a PGA Tour player testing positive for coronavirus was "inevitable" as they reacted to the news that Nick Watney had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The second round of the RBC Heritage was overshadowed by events off the course when it was confirmed that Watney had felt unwell on Friday morning and, after his test came back positive, he was withdrawn from the tournament and must now go into self-isolation for a minimum of 10 days.
Watney is the first PGA Tour player to test positive for Covid-19, but Poulter and Spieth agreed with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka in believing it was only a matter of time before one of the players or caddies were diagnosed with coronavirus.
"It's a shame," said Poulter, who shared the lead overnight and completed a second-round 69 shortly before lightning forced play to be suspended, and he will go into the weekend on nine under and three strokes behind Webb Simpson.
"Obviously, this is why the protocols are in place, and this is why we're doing all the testing as soon as anyone gets to a venue. I think it's been exemplary so far.
"To have as many people tested in the first two weeks on the PGA Tour, and obviously, Nick to feel slightly unwell today, shows how good a job everyone has done so far. It's inevitable it's going to happen, and obviously, it has happened today."
Spieth, who is on six under after two late birdies salvaged a one-under 70, added: "First of all, hopefully Nick's doing well and recovering.
"The whole plan put in place was, not if, but when somebody tests positive, what's the protocol, and what are the next steps? So I feel confident, just in being on those phone calls, in what the PGA Tour is going to do going forward here, and hopefully contact tracing doesn't lead to anybody else testing positive within the bubble.
"South Carolina is open. If you go anywhere to a restaurant, there's a lot of people there right now. So I guess that's probably best case is that he got it on his own outside.
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"But, again, it was not an if scenario. You've got to plan for it to happen, and hopefully it's very much contained. First of all, hopefully, Nick's doing well."
Luke List, who played with Watney and Vaughn Taylor in the first round, was trying to remain positive as he awaited news of his latest test for coronavirus.
"We knew Nick didn't show up and he wasn't feeling well, so there was some speculation in the beginning, but we didn't think about it for a little bit," said List. "Then after nine, we were informed. Yeah, it was hard to concentrate out there for me, just thinking about different stuff, and I wasn't playing my best anyway.
"So it would be nice if they had an option you can kind of say if you want to know or not in a situation like that. I would definitely like to find out after the round next time.
"Me and Vaughn just kind of talked about how the situation was unfolding, but it's just all speculation until we get tested. I feel fine, but even if we go get tested, it might not show up until a few days down the road. So there's a lot of different scenarios."
List missed the cut by a distance on level par, but Taylor is safely through to the weekend after he birdied three of his last five holes to close on six under.
"I got the news at the turn, so I was a little shocked, to be honest," he said. "Heart started racing, got a little nervous. Just hope Nick's doing well and we get through this.
"But I feel good. I didn't have any close contact with Nick yesterday, we kept our space. and we didn't shake hands. Right after the round, I washed my hands. Nick never coughed or sneezed. So I feel comfortable."