Golf's British Open hit by more withdrawals

Former British Open winner Zach Johnson will miss this year's golf championship at Royal St George's in Kent after testing positive for Covid-19, organisers said yesterday, while announcing two more withdrawals.

South African Louis de Jager has also been forced out due to a positive coronavirus test, while last-minute qualifier Ryan Moore is recovering from a back injury and will not compete.

The trio will be replaced by Sam Horsfield, Dylan Frittelli and Adam Long.

"I am disappointed to announce that I have tested positive for Covid-19 and will have to withdraw from the 2021 Open Championship," Johnson wrote on Twitter.

The 45-year-old American, who lifted the Claret Jug awarded to the British Open champion at St Andrews in 2015 and also won the US Masters in 2007, said he looks forward to returning next year.

Reigning US Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and two-time Augusta winner Bubba Watson had also announced their withdrawals on Sunday.

Matsuyama, who tested positive for Covid-19 on July 2, has remained quarantined since and hasn't shown symptoms, but continues to test positive on swab tests.

Watson withdrew after having direct contact with someone who tested positive.

The British Open begins on Thursday. - REUTERS