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Champ can play under tour’s latest coronavirus policy change

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Cameron Champ was added to the field in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit under a modified PGA Tour policy that allows players who test positive for the coronavirus to be eligible if they had no symptoms and get two negative test results at least 24 hours apart.

The decision Wednesday was the latest change to an evolving “Health and Safety Plan” as the tour enters its fourth week back from the COVID-19 shutdown. Champ is among six players and two caddies on the PGA Tour who have tested positive.

Ricky Elliott, the caddie for Brooks Koepka, tested positive before the Travelers Championship last week in Connecticut, and then had a negative test.

The tour said after several asymptomatic positive tests that were followed by a negative test, it consulted with the CDC and is moving to a test-based model, which allows players or caddies to return if they have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Previously, the tour relied on time-based protocols that required those who test positive to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

Champ tested positive on June 23 and withdrew from the Travelers Championship. The tour said he had three negative tests over the 72 hours. He still had to be tested at Detroit Golf Club upon arrival. Champ was set to tee off as a single at 2:10 p.m. Thursday on the 10th tee.

“Today’s changes — and those announced over the past week — illustrate our commitment to preserving the health and well-being of our athletes, constituents and our impact on the communities in which we play, as well as a willingness to make medically sound adjustments that allow our players to compete, safely,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. “The continued success of our return to golf depends on that approach.”

Harris English and Chad Campbell tested positive when they arrived in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, while Brandon Wu and Jonathan Hodge had positive tests in Colorado on the Korn Ferry Tour. The tour said all were asymptomatic. They would be eligible to play next week if they have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The tour made two other adjustments to its policy.

Players who are coming off a break must take a home test for the coronavirus if they want to be eligible for a stipend to cover their costs if they test positive. The stipend — reported to be worth up to $100,000 for PGA Tour players — will be the same amount for a positive test returned at home or a tournament site.

That makes eight changes to the evolving policy since the tour resumed its schedule June 8 at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Other changes include players being tested before taking a charter to the next flight and when they arrive at the next event; players not receiving a stipend for a positive test if they don’t follow safety protocols; and players or caddies being banned from the golf course until their tests results are back.

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