Rory McIlroy praises PGA Tour's handling of positive Covid-19 tests
"I saw a couple of calls to shut the tournament down, which is silly from my point of view"
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 25/06/20 11:44pm
World No 1 Rory McIlroy believes it would have been "silly" to cancel this week's Travelers Championship and has praised the PGA Tour's handling of the coronavirus situation.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Cameron Champ and two caddies tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the event at TPC River Highlands, following on from Nick Watney's test and subsequent withdrawal at the RBC Heritage on Friday.
Webb Simpson and Chase Koepka also withdrew as a precaution after coming into contact with people who had coronavirus, although McIlroy - who posted an opening-round 63 in Connecticut - believes the decision to go ahead with this week's tournament was the right one.
"I thought (PGA Tour commissioner) Jay (Monahan) did a wonderful job yesterday, just relaying the information and where the PGA Tour stands and where we're going going forward," McIlroy said.
"I think people - you hear one or two positive tests and people are panicking, and I saw a couple of calls to shut the tournament down, which is silly from my point of view. I thought he [Monahan] did a really good job explaining. There's been almost 3,000 tests administered and the percentage of positive tests, it's a quarter of a per cent.
"I think, as a whole, it has been going really well. There's a couple of loose ends that we needed to tidy up, and I think we've done that. I feel like the mood and the tone of the event was probably lifted by Jay yesterday."
Beginning on the back nine, McIlroy opened with back-to-back pars and added another at the 12th after missing from six feet, before making a 10-foot eagle, following a great approach into the 13th, and adding a close-range birdie at the next.
McIlroy failed to convert a 12-foot eagle try at the 15th after driving the par-four green, before bogeying the par-three next and squandering a six-foot birdie try at the 17th on his way to turning in 32.
The world No 1 made a tap-in birdie at the second and holed a 15-footer at the fourth, before getting up and down from a bunker to birdie the par-five sixth and finishing his round by converting a six-footer at the ninth to close a seven-under 63.
"Even after the first few holes where I had chances and then didn't quite convert, you just have to keep telling yourself, so many more chances coming up," McIlroy added.
"As much as there is low scores, you just have to keep telling yourself it's patient because inevitably you're going to go through maybe a nine-hole stretch where you only make a birdie or two. You're not going to keep shooting nine holes of three- or four-under all the time, so you have to remind yourself of that.
"The round got going with the eagle on 13, birdie on 14, and then the tee shot into 15. That was a new three-wood I put into play last night. I hadn't even hit it on the course. So my first shot with it was off 10, and then second shot was the one on 15. It's worked out pretty well, a nice little change."
Watch the Travelers Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Friday with Featured Groups from 11.45am on Sky Sports Golf and midday on Sky Sports Main Event.