CROMWELL, Conn. — Chase Koepka, the youthful brother of Brooks Koepka, has been assured a spot in the sector of the 2021 Travelers Championship, The Post realized on Thursday.
Chase, who at 26 years outdated is 4 years youthful than Brooks, the No. 4-ranked participant in the world who owns 4 main championships, earned a spot into the event this week at TPC River Highlands by Monday qualifying, surviving a five-man playoff for 2 spots.
But Wednesday, after it was realized that Brooks’ caddie, Ricky Elliott, had examined constructive for COVID-19, each Brooks and Chase withdrew from the event as a precaution. For Brooks, due to his lofty standing, the withdrawal wasn’t a serious deal. To Chase, who doesn’t have any enjoying standing and has performed in solely a handful of PGA Tour occasions, it was a crushing blow. One good efficiency on the PGA Tour for a participant like Chase can change his life.
Travelers event director Nathan Grube instructed The Post on Thursday that he reached out to Chase and instructed him he “earned’’ his approach in and that, “if he wants it next 12 months’’ he’ll have a assured spot in the 2021 Travelers.
Shane Lowry was in the thick of the COVID-19 vortex on Tuesday and Wednesday on the Travelers Championship.
On Tuesday, the reigning British Open champion from Ireland performed a follow spherical with Graeme McDowell and the Koepka brothers.
By Wednesday, McDowell and the Koepka brothers withdrew from the Travelers when it was found that each McDowell’s caddie, Ken Comboy, and Brooks’ caddie, Elliott, had examined constructive for the Corona Virus.
While neither McDowell nor the Koepkas examined constructive, all three withdrew out of precaution in case that they had been contaminated by the caddies however weren’t but exhibiting it in a check.
Lowry was so involved that he consulted with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on Wednesday night to ensure it was protected for him to hold on and play. Monahan gave his blessing and it turned out to be a superb factor, with Lowry shoot a 4-under 66 on Thursday.
“I came upon on Tuesday night about Kenny, Graeme’s caddie, and I’d spent somewhat little bit of time round Graeme,’’ Lowry mentioned. “But Graeme hadn’t seen [Comboy] since final week [Comboy didn’t make the trip to Connecticut because he wasn’t feeling well].
“Then clearly we performed a follow spherical with Brooks, Chase and Ricky Elliott, who was caddying for Brooks and he examined constructive [Wednesday] morning. Ricky referred to as me himself. I couldn’t actually imagine it. To be trustworthy, I believed he was messing with me, as a result of he type of is like that generally.
“Then as the blokes pulled out, I contacted the Tour fairly shortly. I requested them what did they suppose I ought to do as a result of I wished to do the precise factor. But I don’t suppose I used to be inside sufficient contact with Ricky over the course of the 9 holes we performed on Tuesday. We’re simply taking precautions. I spoke to Jay [Wednesday evening] right here on the membership and he mentioned that I’m good to play. So, I’m right here to play’’
Lowry mentioned after two clear weeks — solely Nick Watney examined constructive final week — this week’s circumstances “have been type of a kick in the bottom to all of us and to ensure that we do the precise issues after we’re on the market.’’
“I’ve seen lots of media protection that’s fairly detrimental, and I don’t prefer it,’’ he mentioned. “I believe the PGA Tour, Jay, all people concerned has accomplished an awesome job, and I as an expert golfer am very blissful to be again to work and to be offering some leisure for some folks at dwelling. I believe we’re very fortunate to be again out enjoying.’’
Abraham Ancer had his first profession PGA Tour gap in one on the 16th gap Thursday, jarring it with an 8-iron from 156 yards. And he was struck the relative silence that accompanied it when an ace typically elicits big roars from the gallery. There, in fact, are not any spectators allowed on the golf course this week.
“It was very anti-climactic as a result of there was no one on the market and we couldn’t high-five or something, however nonetheless, it was superior to have my first PGA Tour ace,’’ he mentioned. “You need to go high-five or one thing and we will’t proper now, so it was undoubtedly completely different. But I’ll take it.’’
Tyler McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, didn’t get into the Travelers subject till the Wednesday withdrawals. He missed the reduce eventually week’s Korn Ferry Tour occasion and was ready to take the week off. He was on his approach to the Pisgah Forest close to Asheville, N.C., for a quiet week off. Then he bought late phrase that he was in the Travelers subject if he might get to Connecticut.
“I believe I bought the affirmation round three p.m. and the final flight out of Jacksonville was 5:30, so I needed to pack up in about 25 minutes and head to the airport,’’ McCumber mentioned.
He made his flight and made probably the most of his alternative, taking pictures a 5-under 65 on Thursday whereas enjoying alongside defending-champion Chez Reavie and Jon Rahm.
“My brother-in-law drove me to the airport final minute,’’ McCumber mentioned. “I referred to as him, I’m like, ‘Hey, man, I believe I’m going to get into the event, can you discover me a flight and possibly give me a journey to the airport and assist me pack?’ He was Superman for me.’’