British Open 2021: Zach Johnson (COVID) among latest dropouts at Royal St. George's
The R&A announced Monday that former champion Zach Johnson, along with Louis de Jager, have been forced to withdraw from the Open Championship due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Johnson played in Sunday’s John Deere Classic, where he finished T-34. Sources told Golf Digest that Johnson was not on the chartered flight with other John Deere competitors from Illinois to England.
"I am disappointed to announce that I have tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to withdraw from the 2021 Open Championship," Johnson said in a statement. "I look forward to returning to St. Andrews next year, a place where I have such wonderful memories. Good luck to all the competitors."
Johnson captured the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews, defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a playoff for his second major victory. Johnson finished T-16 in his previous Open appearance at Royal St. George’s in 2011.
De Jager, who earned a spot through final qualifying, was to make his Open debut this week. The 34-year-old South African is No. 389 in the world.
Ryan Moore, who finished T-2 at the John Deere Classic and earned the tournament's one Open qualifying spot for players not already in the field, also withdrew his name from competition, citing a back injury. More than 15 players have now dropped out of the Open field for various reasons, several related to the strict COVID protocols in place for this year's Open.
Adam Long, Sam Horsfield and Dylan Frittelli are the latest alternates moved into the competition at Royal St. George’s. Australia’s Wade Ormsby is now the first on the reserve list.