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Brooks Koepka out of Travelers Championship after caddie's positive COVID-19 test

Brooks Koepka out of Travelers Championship after caddie's positive COVID-19 test
Brooks Koepka (pictured) was among five players to withdraw from this week's Travelers Championship. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

June 24 (UPI) -- Brooks Koepka has decided to withdraw from this week's Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Koepka -- the world's fourth-ranked player -- announced his decision Wednesday, about 24 hours before the opening round of the PGA Tour's third tournament in its restart.

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"I haven't tested positive for COVID-19, but as I've said all along, I'm taking this very seriously," Koepka said in a statement. "I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize the health of any player in the field or his ability to compete.

"The right thing to do right now is get home, support Ricky and feel confident that I'm doing what I can do protecting my fellow Tour members, my PGA Tour friends and everyone associated with the Travelers Championship this week."

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Koepka was among five players to withdraw from the Travelers Championship, a group that included world No. 5 Webb Simpson -- who won the RBC Heritage on Sunday -- and Koepka's brother, Chase. Both players tested negative for the virus but said they were exercising caution by declining to compete.

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Koepka, coach Claude Harmon III and Elliott tested negative Monday after arriving at the event, but the group took another test after learning that Graeme McDowell's caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive. McDowell also has withdrawn from the tournament.

Koepka, who is coming off a seventh-place finish at the RBC Heritage, told Golfweek that Elliott took three tests at the Travelers Championship, with only his second test coming back positive.

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"We all got tested Monday -- myself, Claude and Ricky," Koepka said. "We had no symptoms. Nothing. Ricky has my full support in this. I feel bad for him. We've got to do everything we can not to spread it. We have to protect the field. That's why we have these rules."

The PGA Tour announced later Wednesday that it will enforce extra testing and stricter monitoring of protocols moving forward.

Last week, Nick Watney became the first PGA Tour player to test positive for the virus since its return. Cameron Champ tested positive on Tuesday at the Travelers.

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