Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama withdraws from Open after positive Covid test

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the the 149th Open at Royal St George’s after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

The Japanese tested positive ahead of the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 2 and has been self-isolating since.

He is currently symptom-free but subsequent PCR tests have continued to show positive results.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama has been self-isolating since early July (Richard Sellers/PA)

“I’m feeling fine but haven’t been able to practice in preparation for The Open,” said Matsuyama in a statement.

“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. I’d like to thank the many golf fans for their continued concern and support as I strive to return to the game I love as soon as possible.”

Matsuyama, 29, has been replaced in the competition by American Harold Varner III.