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The 149th Open: Hideki Matsuyama pulls out following recent positive Covid-19 test

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The 149th Open has been hit by another withdrawal, with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama unable to make the trip to Royal St George’s following his recent positive test for Covid-19.

Hideki Matsuyama has been forced to pull out of The Open

Hideki Matsuyama has been forced to pull out of The Open

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has become the latest player to withdraw from The 149th Open.

Matsuyama’s preparation for the final major of the year was disrupted after he tested positive for Covid-19 during the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week, and he continued to test positive during his self-isolation.

The Japanese star insists he feels fit and healthy and has no coronavirus symptoms, but he has ruled out making the trip to Royal St George’s.

Matsuyama tested positive for Covid-19 last week Matsuyama tested positive for Covid-19 last week

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” said Matsuyama via a statement issued by the R&A.

“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. 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, who will be replaced in the field at Sandwich by Harold Varner III, is the fourth player to withdraw over the weekend after Matthew Wolff, KH Lee and Danny Lee pulled out on Saturday.

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Kevin Na withdrew last week due to the various travel restrictions, while former Players champion Si Woo Kim and fellow South Korean Sungjae Im opted out of The Open to focus on the Olympic Games next month.

Many players have voiced their disapproval of the strict protocols in place for the Championship, which require all competitors to adhere to the tournament “bubble”, staying in authorised accommodation and being limited to a support group of four people under the same roof.

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Players will not be permitted to visit local shops, bars or restaurants in accordance with the government health and safety guidelines put in place for the week.

Andy Sullivan was added to the field on Saturday, while the next three players on the list of reserves are Brendan Steele, John Catlin and Adam Long.

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