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The Open: Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama withdraws because of Covid-19

Hideki Matsuyama
Matsuyama claimed victory at the Masters in April

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from next week’s Open Championship after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 29-year-old from Japan has been self-isolating since testing positive during the Rocket Mortgage Classic on 2 July.

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice,” said Matsuyama.

Also on Sunday, two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson withdrew due to a close contact testing positive for Covid.

In a post on Twitter, Watson said he was disappointed to miss the Open adding “best of luck to all the players”.

Matsuyama said that he has continued to deliver positive results, despite being symptom free.

“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,” he said.

“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Matsuyama, 29, has been replaced by American Harold Varner III at the 149th Open at Royal St George’s.

The R&A said the Open would “operate under strict government oversight”, and that players would be restricted from attending bars, restaurants and supermarkets.

Players are required to stay in approved hotels or private accommodation which can be shared by four members of their team, excluding other players.

The Open was cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Up to 32,000 fans a day will be allowed to attend this year’s tournament as part of the government’s Events Research Programme.

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Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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