The PGA Tour has been quite successful with its COVID-19 protocols. However, since the U.S. Open, there have been a handful of positives cases.
With the return of some cases, the PGA Tour should hunker down on its protocols again and tighten up its bubble.
The latest is No. 1 golfer globally, Dustin Johnson, who tested positive and had to withdraw from the C.J. Cup in Las Vegas this week.
Tony Finau received a positive test last week before the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open tournament. He also withdrew this week — not because of COVID-19 but for other reasons.
Finau and Johnson are the 14th and 15th players to have a positive test since the PGA Tour’s return in June.
Hopefully, both guys will be back for the Zozo Championship next week, and we will see the return of the COVID-19 pairings.
At the same time, it’s time to lock it down again to be precautious.
The Tour went six weeks without a single positive test, so why all of a sudden are there cases again? Are guys getting lax about traveling, or was this expected?
Regardless of the reason, let’s be safe so we don’t lose any more golf. We already see college football games get postponed because of outbreaks, so let’s keep the game built for social distancing safe.
We’re a month away from the Masters Tournament in Augusta, and I don’t want anything to affect that happening. So if that means locking it down for a month to keep the guys safe and have a fully-loaded field for Augusta, by all means, shut it down.
While not having Johnson or Finau in the C.J. Cup field, the tournament still has ample of talented golfers competing against each other.
Brooks Koepka is back after two months off rehabbing his knee and hip. Vegas will also see Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler, and so many more.
Harris English, Brian Harman, Michael Thompson, Matt Kuchar and J.T. Poston will represent the Golden Isles this week in Vegas.
Poston got added to the field after Johnson withdrew, and while it stinks that he won’t get to play, I'd rather see another Isles player get a chance to play in a big tournament. He will tee it up with Lanto Griffin and Cameron Champ at 2:35 p.m.
This pairing will be fun to watch as Champ and Poston have performed well in the last few weeks, so I’m excited to see them go head-to-head.
Kuchar is paired up with Watson and Sebastían Muñoz for the 1:29 p.m. tee time. Harman will play with Alex Noren and Carlos Ortiz at 2:02 p.m.
Thompson will play the first two rounds with Jim Herman and Dylan Frittelli at 2:24 p.m.
English is the last Isles player to tee off at 2:57 p.m. with Adam Hadwin and Mark Hubbard.
As a Georgia alumna, I wanted to include that there are also six Bulldogs in the field — Harman, English, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner, Brendon Todd and Bubba Watson.
Other notable pairings are Thomas, Koepka and Sungaje Im. This trio tees off at 2:46 p.m.
Then there is the youngster group with Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele, who will tee it up at 2:35 p.m.
McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Si Woo Kim will play the first two days together, and I’m pumped to see these two play together. Garcia is on a hot streak after winning a couple of weeks ago, and McIlroy needs to find a spark.
The final notable pairing, in my opinion, is Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm and Matthew Wolff. Hatton won over the pond with his hoodie, and I’m excited to see him in Vegas and going up against two of the heavy-hitters.
Wolff finished second last week after falling in the playoff and is so hungry to get another win.
If I had to pick a winner this week, I want McIlroy to go off and show he hasn’t lost it. At the same time, I’d love to see Hovland get another win.
I love his game and how he plays, and I think it’s great for the game of golf to see a young guy like that challenge the rest of them.
It’s the second week in Vegas and should be a lot more entertaining than the Shriner’s tournament – loaded with bombs, birdies and low-low scores.