The PGA Tour is a canary in a coal mine when it comes to the return of American sports and early returns indicate that keeping athletes and support staff healthy enough to compete is going to be a Herculean task. Brooks Koepka, one of the biggest names in golf, just revealed this morning that he is withdrawing from this weekend's tournament in Connecticut after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Koepka told Golfweek. “I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this Tour can continue is if guys to do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”
The news comes a day after playing with Graeme McDowell, who withdrew after his caddie tested positive. A day after Cameron Champ tested positive. Three days after Nick Watney left the RBC Heritage after contracting coronavirus.
And there is to be more.
It's worth remembering that this is the sport capable of withstanding the most positive tests. It's easy to social distance and a few drop-outs don't ruin the competitive balance. On the bright side, events are still taking place, albeit with some 11th Hour departures. On the other side, it does portend great things for the future mass return of other professional leagues.