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November 06, 2020

Masters 2020: Joaquin Niemann becomes first player to withdraw due to COVID-19

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Harry How

After waiting more than a year to make his Masters debut as a pro, Joaquin Niemann is going to have to wait even longer.

Niemann announced on Friday he will not play in next week's tournament at Augusta National after testing positive for COVID-19. He's the first golfer to withdraw from the Masters due to coronavirus.

Niemann earned an invite to Augusta National with his win at The Greenbrier last September, nearly 14 months ago. He played in the 2018 Masters as the Latin America Amateur Championship winner and missed the cut.

Before pulling out of the event, Niemann was listed at 80-to-1 odds to win the Masters on DraftKings, the same odds as Matt Kuchar and 2019 U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland.

Niemann's six-shot win last September joined him with Rory McIlroy and Seve Ballesteros as the only foreign-born players under the age of 21 to win on the PGA Tour in the past 95 years. He's also the first player from Chile to win a PGA Tour event.

Niemann has finished T-27 or better in his past six PGA Tour starts, highlighted by a third at the BMW Championship and a sixth at the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek last month. He is currently No. 41 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

While the timing of the positive test is unfortunate, Niemann should have plenty of time to play in the Masters considering he turns 22 on Saturday. We send happy—and more importantly, healthy—birthday wishes his way.