HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — The PGA Tour announced Saturday that 11 people who were in contact with Nick Watney were administered initial COVID-19 tests and all the results came back negative after the golfer on Friday became the first player to test positive for the virus.
The PGA Tour did not release the names, but Watney’s playing partners during the first round at the RBC Heritage, Vaughn Taylor and Luke List, said Friday they were being tested immediately, as were their caddies.
“With Friday’s confirmed COVID-19 case of a competitor in the RBC Heritage field, the PGA Tour implemented its response plan in consultation with medical experts including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick Watney,” the tour said in a statement. “As a result, 11 tests were conducted on Friday with all 11 tests being negative.”
The PGA Tour is still waiting for the results of a second test that was administered at the same time as the first.
Watney traveled to the tournament on Tuesday and was administered a COVID-19 test, which was negative. He shot a first-round 74 and told tour officials he believed he had symptoms on Friday morning, at which point he consulted with a physician and was tested.
While awaiting the results of the test, Watney was at Harbour Town Golf Links preparing to play the second round. Among those he came in contact with was Brooks Koepka, who said he stood near him in the parking lot. It is unclear if Koepka was tested.
“We’ve got to see what happens,” Koepka said. “It’s unfortunate Nick got it, but at the same time, hopefully, it stays with just him and doesn’t spread because I think we’ll have a big issue on our hands if it keeps going as the weeks continue.”
Watney missed the cut last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, so he returned to his home in Austin, Texas. That is also where Sergio Garcia lives, and they traveled via private plane together on Tuesday. Garcia told Golfweek that he and his caddie, Mike Kerr, were tested and were negative.
As part of the tour’s health and safety plan, Saturday was to be another big testing day. Anyone who is taking a charter to Hartford, Connecticut, for the Travelers Championship is required to take a COVID-19 test and would not be allowed to travel Monday if positive.
Last week, 98 people as part of the traveling party were on the two charter planes that came to South Carolina. Those who do not take the charter are tested after arriving on site.