The two biggest tennis and golfing events on the horizon in the US are facing a stiff test as the list of players opting to give the US Open and PGA Championship a miss grows due to the coronavirus situation in the States.
John Daly and Vijay Singh were the latest players to withdraw from the PGA Championship next week at TPC Harding Park, making 12 players either exempt or offered invitations who have chosen not to play.
In tennis, world No. 7 Alexander Zverev has said he is still unsure about travelling to New York to play in the US Open. Women’s world No. 1 Ash Barty and her fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios have said they were skipping the hardcourt Grand Slam, which starts on August 31 and will be played without spectators in a bio-secure ‘bubble’.
Daly, the surprise winner in 1991 at Crooked Stick cited health concerns to the PGA of America, while Singh, a two-time PGA champion at Sahalee in 1998 and Whistling Straits in 2004, cited injury.
That makes five major champions who have withdrawn — Daly, Singh, Padraig Harrington, YE Yang and Francesco Molinari.
The PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday, will be held without spectators for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first major of the year, to be followed by the US Open at Winged Foot in September and the Masters in November.
Zverev, who reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open this year, told the Tennis Majors website he was undecided.
“I will see because the situation right now in the US is not that great so I don’t know what we will decide with my team,” the 23-year-old said.
“I want to play tournaments, but I think the US right now is a little bit of a funny place.”
Zverev faced criticism after a video appeared to show him dancing in a crowded club at the end of June, soon after he said he would self-isolate after playing in Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour event, where numerous players tested positive for COVID-19.
“I think just see how it develops over the next few weeks, if the cases go up in US, how the travelling will be and if it will be safe,” Zverev said. “I might not go if I don’t feel safe, my team doesn’t feel safe.”