Scottie Scheffler became the second player forced to withdraw from a major championship because of the coronavirus with a positive test result that knocks him out of the U.S. Open this week at Winged Foot.
The USGA said Scheffler, the leading candidate as PGA Tour rookie of the year, was asymtomatic and at home in Dallas.
Scheffler was replaced in the field by Branden Grace, who was the first alternate based on the Aug. 23 world ranking. Oddly enough, Grace had to withdraw from the PGA Championship last month when he tested positive for the virus.
“We are sorry to lose a member of the USGA family in this year’s U.S. Open field,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA senior managing director of championships. “Scottie has had a phenomenal rookie season and we look forward to welcoming him back to the U.S. Open Championship for many years to come.”
Scheffler’s history with the USGA dates to his victory in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.
An All-American at Texas, where he graduated in four years with a business degree, Scheffler has played so well as a rookie that he qualified for the Masters — rare for a rookie without winning — and a strong performance at East Lake last week in the Tour Championship enabled him to finish No. 5 in the final FedEx Cup standings.
He played in the final group with Dustin Johnson at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth.
Grace was tied for the lead in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay when he sent his tee shot out-of-bounds and onto the railroad tracks right of the 16th fairway and tied for fourth.
More recently, he was one birdie out of the lead going into the weekend at the Barracuda Championship, which uses the modified Stableford scoring system, when he tested positive for the coronavirus and had to withdraw from the weekend and the follow week’s PGA Championship.
Grace also holds the major championship record with a 62 in the third round at Royal Birkdale in the 2017 British Open.