Add Zach Johnson to the list of Open Championship withdrawals after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Johnson is a two-time major winner and the champion of the 2015 Open at St. Andrews when he defeated Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff.
Johnson played in the John Deere Classic and was slated to fly with a handful of other golfers over to The Open on Sunday evening. Why does this matter? Well, according to protocol, you can get contact traced out of the event even if you have already been vaccinated, which theoretically means that everyone on that plane could have to withdraw at some point if just one person on it tests positive. It is not believed that Johnson was on it.
This happened to Bubba Watson, who was forced to withdraw on Sunday even though he's been vaccinated because of contact tracing. This appears to be a UK travel policy that the R&A is following and not tied to the R&A (or The Open) itself.
Regardless, Watson and Johnson -- both two-time major winners -- are among the long list of golfers who have had to pull out of the tournament for various reasons, almost all of them COVID-19 related. Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim and Matthew Wolff are some of the other golfers who are WDs from this week's event in Sandwich.
Johnson had three straight top 20s at The Open after his win in 2015, but he missed the cut the last time the tournament was played in 2019 at Royal Portrush. He finished T34 at the John Deere and missed the cut at the first three majors of the year. Johnson will be replaced in the field by Sam Horsfield.
2021 Open withdrawals
Si Woo Kim
Louis de Jager