Family tests negative; Simpson ready to play


DETROIT — Just a week after withdrawing from the Travelers Championship out of caution after his daughter tested positive for the coronavirus, and with now six PGA Tour players and two caddies testing positive, Webb Simpson said he believes golfers are taking protocols and safety measures more seriously than in previous weeks.

Even going back to when the PGA Tour returned to play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Simpson said he has noticed a change in his peers in the past three weeks. “I think this being the fourth tournament, I think guys are so aware of how easy it is to catch this disease that I think everyone else is becoming more strict,” said Simpson, whose daughter’s test turned out to be a false positive. “That first week at Colonial, there were still fist bumps after the round, closer contact I think on the range or player dining. There’s way less of that now. Now, nobody’s touching; maybe an elbow here or there. I’m definitely seeing how it’s affecting everyone, not just those who have had contact with someone.”

Just this week, the PGA Tour announced Chad Campbell tested positive and has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic. That was only a day after Harris English tested positive as well in the pre-tournament screening.

Because more positive tests are popping up and cases nationwide are increasing, Simpson said he will be taking extra precautions both at home and on the course. Where he had been more relaxed with his safety at home, allowing friends on the back porch and a friend to work out with him, Simpson recognizes the virus has not gone away and he and his family will take extra precautions.

“Thinking we were kind of moving away from it, but since the numbers have come back stronger and I’m seeing that out here, you test positive, you’re out two to three tournaments depending on when you test positive,” Simpson said. “So we will be more strict, I’m wearing my mask more than I was, and I’m not really going out to dinner or getting takeout. We’re staying at a hotel this week, we’re going to try to do room service every night and just to limit the chance of anything.”

Part of his scare came from getting his daughter tested after thinking she had swollen tonsils, or potentially strep throat, after she choked on a banana. Simpson’s daughter took a rapid test, which came back positive, but then produced two negative tests via more accurate testing measures.

Simpson’s other children and wife also tested negative, which is why he is in Detroit to play this week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

He felt comfortable enough to travel and comfortable enough to play in the tournament, and despite the recent positive tests, Simpson says he still believes the commissioner and the PGA Tour have put the players in a position to succeed and continue the rest of the schedule.

“I applaud the PGA Tour and everything they’ve done and are doing to keep us safe. I mentioned to the commissioner [Jay Monahan] last week that based on our numbers, our stats, I told him, ‘The safest place anyone can be in the United States right now is on the PGA Tour,'” Simpson said. “We had at that point in that conversation, I think seven out of some 2,300, 2,400 positive, which is amazing. So the length the tour is going to make sure every place we go is safe and secure, and our testing and all that. I feel very good about being out here.”

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