Sergio Garcia and Nick Watney flew together from their homes in Austin, Texas, to South Carolina this week for the RBC Heritage, thanks to a private plane Garcia had access to.
The move is a common one for the two friends, one they didn’t think twice about.
But after Watney tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday — which forced him to withdraw from the tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links and marked the PGA Tour’s first positive test since play resumed last week — Garcia was worried.
Not only because he could have contracted the virus, but also because it could have forced him out of the tournament, and he didn’t want to miss the cut two weeks in a row.
"I was a little bit afraid because I gave him a ride on Tuesday, but when we landed, we got tested,” said Garcia, who sits just two shots back headed into Sunday’s final round, via ESPN. “We were both negative. So it was all good. Then I was surprised to hear that he tested positive three days later. I got my test done yesterday and I was negative.
“But it was about 4 ½ hours of waiting, very anxiously, hoping that it was negative because, obviously, after missing the cut last week by one and this week finally playing nicely in the second round and being in the middle of the pack, if I would have given positive, then I wouldn't be able to play on the weekend and I would have been very, very disappointed.”
The PGA Tour tested 11 people who had come into contact with Watney since his positive test — including Watney’s Thursday playing partners Luke List and Vaughn Taylor — all of whom came back negative. Garcia’s secondary test was negative, too.
Watney was at the course on Friday morning, too, and was extremely apologetic to his fellow Tour members.
“Nick is unbelievable. He's a good friend,” Garcia said, via Golfweek. “He was very worried about me. He sent me several texts. I talked to him. He must have said sorry to me probably 25 times. I told him that it's all good.”
There were more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Saturday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 120,000 deaths attributed to it.
South Carolina has seen a sharp increase in positive cases over the past two weeks, especially in counties located along the coast, and is approaching 24,000 confirmed cases. Justin Thomas slammed Hilton Head residents on Saturday, too, blaming their relaxed attitudes surrounding the global pandemic for Watney’s positive test.
Watney is now isolating, along with his caddie and Brendon Todd’s caddie — all of whom were sharing a house this week.
“Unfortunately, it had to happen to him,” Garcia said, via Golfweek. “There’s a lot of other people that probably deserved it a lot more than him, and he’s the one that got it.”
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