Four players have withdrawn from this week's Valspar Championship after testing positive for COVID-19, the most at any event since the PGA Tour returned at the Charles Schwab Challenge at the beginning of June 2020. Tyrrell Hatton, Will Gordon, Brice Garnett and Sepp Straka are all out after positive tests. Tim Wilkinson, J.J. Spaun, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Nelson Ledesma have taken their spots in the field at Innisbrook Resort.
Hatton is the biggest name of the bunch. He was supposed to be one of four top-10 players in the world teeing it up this week (he's currently ranked No. 8), but he tweeted on Tuesday that he was out at around the same time the Tour put out a statement confirming the withdrawals. Other top-10 attendees include Dustin Johnson (No. 1), Justin Thomas (No. 2) and Patrick Reed (No. 7).
The last event of the season in Florida will see fans flock to the Copperhead Course near Tampa in a limited capacity. It's expected that around 25% of the normal number of attendees will be allowed on the grounds for the four rounds of play this week. This has been inconsistent based on what state the Tour is in for any given event. In California earlier this year, we saw no fans at all. But for much of the Florida swing as well as for events in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, a limited crowd has been allowed.
The PGA Tour has removed COVID-19 testing for players who have been vaccinated, but only 14 days after their final vaccination shot. Most outbreaks on the Tour since the return last June have been fairly isolated, with one or two players or maybe a caddie testing positive.
If anyone else tests positive this week, Fabian Gomez is next up on the alternate list.