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PGA Tour shortens players' path to return from COVID-19

The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that it will alter its health and safety plan to allow asymptomatic players a quicker road to return.

FILE PHOTO: Jun 14, 2020; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Cameron Champ plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Tour player Cameron Champ will be the first to take advantage of the new standards as he was allowed back into the field at this weekend’s Rocket Mortgage Challenge at Detroit after three negative coronavirus tests in a 72-hour period.

Champ was originally placed on a 10-day self-isolation period after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 23. His 10-day self-isolation period would not have allowed him to tee off in the first round at the Detroit Golf Club on Thursday.

The PGA Tour officially has transitioned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for players or caddies who test positive. Anybody who tests positive for COVID-19 but has not had any symptoms can return to competition with two negative tests in a 24-hour period.

Champ was given a 2:10 p.m. EDT tee time Thursday, although he still will be subject to another coronavirus test upon arrival on the course, just like all other players.

“I am extremely grateful for the tireless efforts and conversations between the Tour, my team and all of the experts who were consulted in order to deliver this best possible outcome,” Champ said in a statement issued by the PGA Tour. “It is a great example of everyone being committed to working together to adapt and evolve in this constantly changing environment.”

PGA Tour players Harris English and Chad Campbell and second-tier Korn Ferry Tour players Brandon Wu and Jonathan Hodge tested positive for the coronavirus this week but were asymptomatic. They potentially could return as early as next week under the new policy, according to the PGA Tour.

Korn Ferry Tour player Taylor Montgomery also tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but he wasn’t mentioned in the Wednesday press release.

“Today’s changes -- and those announced over the past week -- illustrate our commitment to preserving the health and well-being of our athletes, constituents and our impact on the communities in which we play, as well as a willingness to make medically sound adjustments that allow our players to compete, safely,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

--Field Level Media

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