Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the CJ Cup after testing positive for COVID-19 this week. Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, but came in as one of the favorites in Las Vegas to win what would be the 24th title in his PGA Tour career. Johnson had experienced symptoms of the virus, alerted PGA Tour officials and was administered a test. He is the biggest name in the sport to date to return a positive test since the sport’s restart.
This is the second-straight week a top-20 player has been forced to withdraw because of COVID-19, however. Last week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, it was Tony Finau. Professional golf had been sailing along pretty smoothly — all things considered — since a mini-outbreak at the end of June, but these are two pretty big blows to what were two great fields.
“Obviously, I am very disappointed,” said Johnson in a statement. “I was really looking forward to competing this week, but will do everything I can to return as quickly as possible. I have already had a few calls with the Tour’s medical team and appreciate all the support and guidance they have given me.”
The second half of Johnson’s 2020 has been some of the best golf of his career. In addition to wins at the Travelers Championship, The Northern Trust and Tour Championship, he has runner-up finishes at the PGA Championship and BMW Championship and a T6 at the U.S. Open nearly a month ago.
With Johnson, the bigger questions revolve around the Masters at Augusta National in four weeks. Hopefully, his recovery is swift and comprehensive, and the best player on the planet is ready to rock for the final major of 2020.
This will likely force other players to be even more cautious than they have been with a precious Masters start for many just over the horizon. Nobody wants to have to miss a major, especially one at Augusta National, because of COVID-19, and we’re just one month removed from a top-40 player in Scottie Scheffler bowing out of the U.S. Open because of the virus.