Bubba Watson withdraws from 2021 British Open

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Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson has withdrawn from the 149th British Open at Royal St. George’s Golf Club hours after the R&A announced that 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama will not be playing either.

According to the R&A, Watson withdrew, “after being identified as a close contact of an individual testing positive for Covid-19.” He will be replaced in the field by Branden Steele.

On Twitter, Watson, who made his debut in 2009 at Turnberry, had played in 11 consecutive British Open tournaments, wrote that he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus and has passed all of the required pre-travel tests, but that he is not comfortable flying and potentially risking the safety of other people around him.

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The next three players on the reserve list are John Catlin and Adam Long of the United States, and Sam Horsfield of England.