Nearly 100 golfers will arrive at Augusta National this week for the 2020 Masters, the most-anticipated tournament on the golf calendar. One figure is a late scratch, however, due to a positive COVID-19 test. Sergio Garcia will not make the trip and will give up an opportunity for his second Masters' win.
The 40-year-old Garcia announced the news on Twitter Monday morning, confirming that he will miss the tournament. He posted a photo showing him wearing the iconic green jacket and kissing the trophy in celebration. He said that he had experienced some symptoms after a previous tournament, prompting a test. A positive test confirmed his fears, so Garcia made the decision to step away and focus on his health.
"On Saturday night after driving back from the Houston Open, I started feeling a bit of a sore throat and a cough," Garcia tweeted. "The symptoms stayed with me on Sunday morning so I decided to get tested for Covid-19 and so did my wife Angela. Thankfully she tested negative, but I didn’t. After 21 years of not missing a Major Championship, I will sadly miss The Masters this week. The important thing is that my family and I are feeling good. We’ll come back stronger and give the green jacket a go next April."
Garcia is the second golfer to withdraw from the 2020 Masters due to the coronavirus. Joaquin Niemann also did so on Friday, announcing on Twitter that he had tested positive. The 21-year-old Chilean was set to make his second Masters' start.
"I have tested positive for coronavirus and unfortunately I will not play in the Masters next week as a result," Niemann tweeted. "This event means a lot to me, and I have had incredible memories playing as the LAAC champion … I am disappointed but will do everything possible to recover quickly while keeping my family and team safe."
Heading into the week's competition, Garcia was among the top contenders fighting for the trophy. Golf Digest ranked him as the 32nd-best option in a 98-golfer field, placing him above Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson. Garcia previously won the Masters in 2017, beating Justin Rose for his first major championship. In his 21 appearances at the Augusta tournament, Garcia has four top-10 finishes.
While Garcia ranked among the top 40 competitors, another golfer sits in second place overall after his own bout with the coronavirus. Dustin Johnson withdrew from the CJ Cup in mid-October after testing positive, creating concern about whether he would recover in time for the 2020 Masters. The 36-year-old returned to action in Houston and performed well, finishing tied for second place with Hideki Matsuyama.