Bryson DeChambeau tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, USA Golf announced on Saturday. Patrick Reed will replace DeChambeau on the roster.
“I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA,” DeChambeau, who is ranked No. 6 in the world, said in a statement. “Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honor to make this team. I wish Team USA the best of luck next week in Tokyo. I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so.”
Reed, who will undergo testing Sunday and Monday before leaving for Japan, joins Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele on the men’s team. The first round begins on Thursday.
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to represent our country and be a part of Team USA in Tokyo,” Reed said in a statement. “I wish Bryson nothing but the best, and I know how disappointed he is to not be able to compete, and I will do my best to play my best and represent our country.”
Reed was part of the U.S. team in Rio in 2016, tying for 11th at 6 under, 10 strokes off winner Justin Rose. Thomas, Morikawa and Schauffele are all competing in their first Games.
The 30-year-old Reed is ranked 13th after missing the cut at the British Open last week. He ranked as high as seventh in May but has missed three cuts in his last nine starts.
Bryson DeChambeau tested positive for Covid-19 before leaving the United States for the Olympics and will miss the Tokyo Games. He’ll be replaced by Patrick Reed. Spain’s Jon Rahm, the world No 1, will also miss the Olympics after testing positive
The pair were due to make their debuts in the Games when the men’s event starts on Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club and would have been among the frontline contenders to claim a podium position.
Bryson DeChambeau smiles at the crowd after completing his second round at the Open at Royal St George’s.
Bryson DeChambeau apologises after outburst over his driver at the Open
Rahm, in particular, would have been heavily fancied after ending a long wait for his first major last month, when the 26-year-old Spaniard edged out South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen to win the US Open at Torrey Pines in California.
He then travelled to the United Kingdom for The Open – where he finished in a tie for third – and as a requirement to enter Japan, he had to pass three PCR tests. Two samples were negative but the third produced a positive result.
“Golfer Jon Rahm has tested positive for Covid-19, so he will not attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, which announced there was “no material time” to find a replacement.
“The positive has been detected by undergoing a third consecutive PCR test, mandatory for all those who have been recently in the United Kingdom, as is the case of Jon Rahm. The first two PCR tests were negative.”
DeChambeau had been looking to turn around a drama-filled season that has included months of sparring with Brooks Koepka, a sudden break with his longtime caddie, and, most recently, a spat with his club sponsor when he said his driver “sucks” after struggling at the British Open.
The Californian didn’t crack the top 25 in any of this year’s majors, but does have one victory this year – in March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
DeChambeau said: “I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA. Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honour to make this team. I wish Team USA the best of luck next week in Tokyo. I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so.”
Reed was scheduled to undergo testing Sunday and Monday to clear himself to compete in Tokyo. The 30-year-old Texan joins Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele in the men’s competition, with Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang and Jessica Korda comprising the women’s team.
Reed was third in line to be a replacement, behind Patrick Cantlay and Koepka.
Koepka has sounded unenthused about the prospect of playing in the Olympics, saying the sport’s four majors, plus the Ryder Cup and other big events, give players plenty to strive for. The Ryder Cup this year is set for 28-30 September at Whistling Straits.
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, has been more gung-ho about the Olympics, and now, he is the only two-time Olympian on the men’s side of the sport, which was reintroduced to the program in 2016 after a 112-year absence. He shot 64 in the final round in Rio de Janeiro and finished 11th.
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to represent our country and be a part of Team USA in Tokyo,” Reed said. “I wish Bryson nothing but the best, and I know how disappointed he is to not be able to compete, and I will do my best to play my best and represent our country.”
USA Golf executive director Andy Levinson said Reed’s willingness to quickly rush through Covid protocols and come to an unfamiliar course on no notice “really illustrates the importance of the Olympics and the value Patrick places on playing for Team USA and for his country”.
“We’re obviously disappointed for Bryson, as we know how much he was looking forward to representing the United States in his first Olympics,” Levinson said.
(Photo: Richard Sellers / PA Images via Getty Images)