Brooks Koepka pulls out as American tour rocked by positive coronavirus tests and protocol breaches

Brooks Koepka - AP
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The PGA Tour's coronavirus problem has become so serious that five players have withdrawn from the field this week that the players and caddies have been warned that there will be "serious effects" and the future of the racetrack if they take the logs not obey yourself could be threatened.
After last week's number 4 Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and American crack youngster Cameron Champ withdrew on the eve of the tour's third restart tournament, many expected the commissioner Jay Monahan would announce a cancellation of the tournament event in Hartford, especially since Connecticut had just announced a 14-day quarantine for visitors from the many American states where more and more cases occur.
Instead, Monahan insisted that the show must continue and responded to the "values ​​of the game" in his most lyrical way.
But there was at least a hint of openness when he talked about the memo sent out to the players and caddies at lunchtime, instructing them to line up after repeated violations of socially distant rules.
While players and caddies were advised to stay away from restaurants and bars, these guidelines didn't seem to be ignored as much as they were ridiculed at Hilton Head Island last week.
"We all have an extraordinary responsibility to follow these protocols," said Monahan. "Anyone who does not will have a serious impact and I will not go into the details."
There were a total of three positive tests in which Koepkas Caddy, the North Irishman Ricky Elliot and McDowell's Bagman Ken Comboy were infected as well as Champ.
They are close friends, and Chase Koepka, who lives with his older brother Brooks, felt compelled to retire, although he only earned his place in a play-off on Monday in qualifying.
Elliot asked for another test and it came back negative. He still had to retire, but the test system is clearly unpredictable - which Monahan attributed to the "nature of the virus".
The elephant in the virtual interview room was Simpson's early departure. Monahan was never asked for confirmation, but it is believed that the daughter of Simpson, a father of five, had tested positive.
According to sources, other members of the professional entourage were also put down. Obviously it was time to act.
"Everyone needs to know that our future, our ability to keep this business going and to influence the communities where we play and create so many jobs depends on our ability to follow these protocols," said Monahan.
"So if we have cases where someone has not done so, they will be treated, and as I said, the consequences will be significant."
Between the inevitable company talks, Monahan admitted that at least a certain degree of complacency had occurred in an environment that, apart from the extensive set of rules of the sport, is ridiculously spoiled and clearly not used to being ordered around.
"I think if you come here without spectators around the tournament and you have tested the people around you ... well, I think in the first few weeks we saw some cases where we have, for example, I'm a bit careless or deviated from the protocol, ”he said.
Monahan announced "several adjustments" to "a comprehensive health and safety plan to be developed to be considered best practice among professional sports leagues".
In practice, this means another test day for those who complete the charter flight from event to event, as well as tests for the coaches present, which is primarily a bizarre omission. The tour also does not want players - and yes caddies - to go to gyms, but rather use the facilities on site.
Neither local restaurants and watering holes were mentioned, nor was the need for multimillionaires to agree to stay in the "bubble" at certain hotels.
In contrast, when the European Tour resumes, each player, caddy, media member and support staff must settle in the designated hotels in four weeks and may only leave the premises to travel to the course. It may seem tough, but then, as Monahan remarked, "We have to keep refining and getting better and finding ways to further reduce the risk."
There is still a lot to update.
Currently, the £ 6 million Travelers Championship starts with seven of the top 10 in the world regardless of the loss of Koepka and Simpson. Rory McIlroy is the favorite, along with the Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, and Spaniard Jon Rahm, who has the chance to win the Ulsterman in the world's No. 1 ranking.
The circus continues to roll and Monahan firmly believes that in just three weeks he can actually arrive at The Memorial in Ohio with 8,000 fans a day. "We have to learn to live with this virus," said Monahan. "This virus is not going anywhere. We will have more positive tests in the future."
In the meantime, the Simpsons traveled home with their daughter.

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