Dylan Frittelli carded a 1-over 73 on Thursday at the Workday Charity Open, his first PGA Tour outing after missing last week’s event in Detroit.
The round, however, was anything but ordinary.
Frittelli, one of six PGA Tour players to have tested positive for COVID-19, tested positive again on Wednesday. But thanks to the Tour’s new guidelines, Fritttelli was able to hit the course at Muirfield Village.
“It was fun to get out there,” he said, via the Associated Press. “Obviously, a few hoops to jump through [Wednesday]. It was a little tricky situation that went on. But that’s fine. Life is full of surprises, so we’ll move on from there and hopefully get everything cemented in the coming weeks.”
Playing despite a positive test
Frittelli, along with Nick Watney and Denny McCarthy, all tested positive for the coronavirus since play resumed in June. However the three have either recovered and since tested negative or are now asymptomatic. Frittelli, who tested positive after missing the cut at the Travelers Championship, hasn’t had any symptoms for six days.
The Tour updated its protocols on Wednesday, allowing any caddie or player who tested positive can return to play as long as 72 hours have passed since recovery. They also must be 10 days removed from when any symptoms first appeared.
Since all three fit into that category, they went off in a threesome on Thursday in Dublin, Ohio. Watney finished with a 5-over 77, and McCarthy matched Frittelli’s 71.
They weren’t, however, allowed inside the Muirfield Village clubhouse, gym or trailers. They were given their own room underneath an old pro shop to “chill out together,” but the process was extremely unusual.
“I just drove straight in this morning actually,” Frittelli said, via the PGA Tour. “I stretched at home. I ate breakfast in my hotel room and then straight to the parking lot and felt like Walter Hagen, just walked straight on to the driving range.”
The reception he got from the rest of the field, Frittelli said, was unusual. Naturally, they had plenty to ask him.
"A lot of guys were intrigued. They were all asking me questions," he said, via the Associated Press. "I tried to give them my best biology lesson that I could. But it spread like wildfire, and when it goes to a third, fourth, fifth source, then you hear some funny stories, so I think that's what happened yesterday and guys started freaking out, obviously."
There were more than 3.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 133,000 deaths attributed to it. There were more than 59,000 new cases on Wednesday alone, a new single-day record. Ohio had more than 61,000 cases, and is averaging more than 1,000 new cases a day over the past week.
Frittelli, Watney and McCarthy will play together again on Friday. Frittelli and McCarthy trail leader Collin Morikawa by eight strokes after the first round, however, and Watney has work to do to ensure his place in the weekend.
Should any of them make it to the weekend, they will likely play alone — something that will undoubtedly be very strange.
“That would be a very strange scenario and a very slow, lonely round of golf,” Frittelli said, via the Associated Press. “But I mean, it’s not that bad.”
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