Hideki Matsuyama withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic before Friday's second round after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour announced. Matsuyama's exit from the field came just minutes before his grouping featuring Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler was scheduled to tee off as one of the afternoon's featured threesomes.
"It's disappointing to receive this news and have to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic," Matsuyama said in a statement. "I will take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all others. I appreciate and thank everyone for their concern in advance. I look forward to a full recovery and returning to competition as soon as possible."
Matsuyama, 29, entered the week at No. 18 in the World Golf Rankings after his victory at The Masters in April, his first career major title. The news of his positive COVID-19 test comes a month after another one of the world's top players, Jon Rahm, was forced to withdraw from the Memorial after three rounds while leading by six strokes because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Rahm returned to competition two weeks later with a victory in the U.S. Open. If Rahm's timeline was any indication, Matsuyama might have enough time to clear protocol before The Open Championship, which is set for July 15-18. However, the necessity of overseas travel for the season's final major could be an added wrinkle as Matsuyama seeks to add a second major to his resume.
Matsuyama, who's expected to represent his home country of Japan at the Tokyo Olympics later this month, fired an even-par 70 in the first round before withdrawing. Mickelson and Fowler teed off without him Friday and played as a twosome.