Garcia withdraws from Masters after positive COVID-19 test

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Sergio Garcia, of Spain, watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the Houston Open golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Sergio Garcia pulled out of the Masters on Monday after informing Augusta National he tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the second player to withdraw following a positive test.

Garcia won his only major at the Masters three years ago in his 19th appearance, the most of any player before winning a green jacket.

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“After 21 years of not missing a major championship, I will sadly miss the Masters this week,” he tweeted. “The important thing is that my family and I are feeling good. We'll come back stronger and give the green jacket a go next April.”

Joaquin Niemann of Chile announced last week that he tested positive and withdrew.

The field was down to 92 players, with two other former champions not playing. Angel Cabrera, who won in 2009, had surgery on his left arm and is not expected to return until January. Trevor Immelman, the 2008 winner, had his name listed on the board as not playing. He is working the CBS broadcast this week. Immelman did not immediately respond to a text message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Garcia played last week in the Houston Open, which sold 2,000 tickets each day. It was the first domestic PGA Tour event that allowed limited spectators on the course. Garcia, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship last month for his first U.S. victory since his Masters win, missed the cut in Houston.

He said on Twitter he was driving back to his home in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night when he started feeling a sore throat and a cough.

“The symptoms stayed with me on Sunday morning so I decided to get tested for COVID-19 and so did my wife Angela. Thankfully she tested negative, but I didn’t,” he wrote.

He brings to 15 the number of PGA Tour players who have tested positive since golf returned in June from the COVID-19 pandemic-caused shutdown. That includes Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player, who sat out two events last month.

Johnson said last week there was no change to his routine when he flew to Las Vegas and he was surprised to get a positive test. Adam Scott tested positive a week later in California and also had to withdraw.

Under CDC guidelines, once they have recovered and are through the 10 days of isolation, they are not tested for three months.

“It is terrible timing,” Scott said when asked about Garcia and Niemann. “The silver lining for myself — and I was talking about it with Dustin — is we got it at a time where it meant we weren't going to miss the Masters. But it seems like almost one guy a week, or maybe just a bit more, test positive. And there's going to be a couple here.”

Scottie Scheffler and Sam Horsfield tested positive and were forced to miss the U.S. Open in September. Branden Grace tested positive the weekend before the PGA Championship and had to miss that major.

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