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The 2021 Masters champion, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, has withdrawn from next week’s 149th British Open. He is being replaced in the field at Royal St. George’s Golf Club by Harold Varner III.
According to the R&A, Matsuyama, who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, has continued to test positive while remaining symptom-free. He has been in isolation since testing positive on July 2.
In a release provided by the R&A, Matsuyama said, “I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open. Combining that with the difficult travel to the UK, my team and I have decided it’s best to withdraw to ensure everyone’s safety. I feel badly missing The Open and look forward to playing again at St. Andrews next year.”
Matsuyama made his first appearance at the British Open in 2013 at Muirfield, where he finished tied for sixth. He has played in every subsequent tournament but missed the cut in three of the last four.
The next three players on the reserve list for the British Open are Brendan Steele, John Catlin and Adam Long. Each of those players is from the United States, and they are ranked No. 88, 89 and 90, respectively, on the Official World Golf Ranking.