Tour makes good on Chase Koepka’s withdrawal

Golf

One selfless act by Chase Koepka has led to two opportunities on the PGA Tour, starting next week in the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village.

The PGA Tour created an additional spot in the field next week for Koepka, the younger brother of four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, after he chose to withdraw from the Travelers Championship from being around a caddie who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chase Koepka earned his spot in the Travelers through Monday qualifying.

His brother arranged a house for him that didn’t start until the following day, so the brothers stayed together that night along with the rest of Brooks Koepka’s crew.

But then Ricky Elliott, the caddie for Brooks Koepka, tested positive. So did Ken Comboy, the caddie for Graeme McDowell, and Chase Koepka had played a nine-hole practice round with his brother and McDowell.

Even though his test came back negative, Chase Koepka withdrew out of an abundance of caution.

The Travelers Championship offered him an exemption for next year. The tour gave him a spot for next week in Dublin, Ohio. That means the field for the Workday Charity Open will be 156 players.

Tyler Dennis, the tour’s chief of operations, said Koepka was added to the Workday field because of “extraordinary circumstances.” He said giving him a spot was “the right thing to do.”

“The term ‘abundance of caution’ was not part of our vernacular four months ago and to that point, I can’t say enough about our players that put their tour — and the health and safety of their peers and all involved with our tours and communities — above their own goals,” Dennis said.

McDowell and Brooks Koepka also withdrew from the Travelers out of caution.

Chase Koepka has played five times on the PGA Tour, including twice with his brother in the team event at the Zurich Classic. They tied for fifth in 2017. He primarily played the Challenge Tour last year in Europe, just like his older brother did on his way to becoming among the elite in golf.

The Workday Charity Open is a one-time event on the tour schedule. It replaces the John Deere Classic, which decided to cancel this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has eliminated fans since the tour resumed its schedule June 11.

It will be played at Muirfield Village, which then will hold the 120-man field for the Memorial the following week.

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