149th British Open

149th British Open: Golfers Dropping Out of Tournament

And, just like that, the end of major season stares us in the face. Come Sunday afternoon, once the final putt drops at 149th British Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, golf fans the world over will be reckoning with a nine-month major-less void. Such is the reality of this new, compact men’s major schedule where one can hardly blink before the next massive tournament is upon us.

The first three majors of the year delivered massively

At the Masters, Hideki Matsuyama became a hero to a golf-mad nation; at the PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson laughed in the face of Father Time; at the U.S. Open, Jon Rahm conquered the sport. What, then, will transpire at the first Open Championship of the post-COVID world?

Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama out of The British Open because of COVID-19 protocols

Watson will miss the championship after coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“While I am vaccinated and have passed the required pre-travel COVID test, not enough time has passed for me to comfortably join the charter flight and risk exposure to the other players and personnel on board,” Watson said in a statement on social media. “Like many of you, I look forward to watching The Open Championship on TV. Since I will be watching from the comfort of my couch, I would not mind seeing the field have to deal with a little rain and strong winds.”

Just four hours earlier on Sunday, the R&A announced that Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama had also withdrawn from The Open. Matsuyama tested positive for COVID-19 at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and although he’s symptom-free, he continues to test positive.

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