Rory McIlroy conceded a coronavirus case was inevitable on the PGA Tour after Nick Watney tested positive for COVID-19 during the RBC Heritage.

Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage before the second round on Friday after contracting coronavirus amid the pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

The PGA Tour only returned behind closed doors earlier this month after the season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

World number one McIlroy was in action during Saturday's third round, carding a five-under-par 66 to be five strokes off the pace through 54 holes.

Asked if the atmosphere had changed since the positive test, McIlroy said: "I don't think so. I think people were, they weren't naive.

"I think just statistically and looking at the numbers, someone was going to get it, and even being as careful as you can be, things happen, and you pick it up from somewhere. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. I think we've done really well to start golf again and get back up and play golf tournaments.

"I don't think anyone was blind to the fact that someone could catch the virus, and it's a shame that Nick did. But as I said last night, it's one case, and as long as it's contained to that and we move forward, we can keep playing."

McIlroy was on the putting green with Watney on Friday, but the four-time major champion said he has not been tested for coronavirus.

"I didn't feel like I was in close enough proximity, and I wasn't feeling any symptoms," he said. "I feel totally fine. I saw him on the putting green, and we kept our distance, and that was it."

Sergio Garcia – the 2017 Masters champion – shot a third-round 65 to be tied for eighth at Hilton Head Island, two strokes behind leaders Tyrrell Hatton, Abraham Ancer, Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson.

On Watney's positive test, Garcia added: "My first reaction was I was surprised. I felt terrible for Nick because he's probably one of the nicest guys on TOUR. Unfortunately, it had to happen to him. So there's a lot of other people that probably deserved it a lot more than him, and he's the one that got it. 

"I was a little bit afraid because I gave him a ride on Tuesday, but when we landed on Tuesday, we got tested. We were both negative. So it was all good. Then I was surprised to hear that he tested positive two days, three days later. Obviously, I got my test done yesterday, and I was negative."

Webb Simpson is one of four players in a tie for the lead at the RBC Heritage after the third round on Hilton Head Island.

Former U.S. Open champion Simpson is level at 15 under par through 54 holes alongside Tyrrell Hatton, Abraham Ancer and Ryan Palmer.

Simpson, the 2013 RBC Heritage runner-up, held the outright lead overnight but could only manage a three-under 68 in a round that contained four birdies and one bogey.

His fellow American Palmer shot 66, while Mexican Ancer posted a third-round 65 to join Simpson at the front of the PGA Tour event.

Englishman Hatton also surged into contention and shares the lead after following up a disappointing opening round of 71 with scores of 64 and 63.

His eight-under effort on Saturday was tied for the best of the day along with five other players.

Similarly to last week's Charles Schwab Challenge, the top of the leaderboard is hugely congested going into the final day.

There are 17 players sitting within three strokes of the four leaders.

Daniel Berger (63) – the winner at Colonial – matched Hatton's total and is one of three men one shot behind on 14 under along with Joel Dahmen (63) and Carlos Ortiz (63).

Ian Poulter (67) – who held a share of the lead after round one – is two strokes off the pace along with Sergio Garcia (65) and a further six competitors.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka (68) and former world number one Dustin Johnson (67) remain in contention at 12 under, as does Bryson DeChambeau despite struggling in a third round of 70.

Despite a five-under-par 66, world number one Rory McIlroy has work to do at 10 under heading into the final round.

McIlroy sits five shots behind Simpson, Hatton, Ancer and Palmer in a tie for 28th after holing six birdies and a bogey – eight strokes better off than Jordan Spieth, who struggled in a four-over-par 75.

Meanwhile, the field was a combined 223-under par, the most of any round in this tournament's history, surpassing 178 under in 2015.

The PGA Tour has confirmed 11 people who may have had close contact with Nick Watney have returned negative results in coronavirus tests.

Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage before the second round on Friday after becoming the first PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka revealed they had both been around Watney, who was at the course while he waited for his results.

"With Friday's confirmed COVID-19 case of a competitor in the RBC Heritage field, the PGA TOUR implemented its response plan in consultation with medical experts including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick Watney," the PGA Tour said in a statement on Saturday.

"As a result, 11 tests were conducted on Friday with all 11 tests being negative."

The update came as Justin Thomas spoke positively of the PGA Tour's protocols, but expressed significant concern about Hilton Head Island as a whole, calling it "an absolute zoo".

Thomas, who shot a 66 in round three and sits at nine under for the tournament, said: "We have done such a great job these first two weeks, I feel very safe.

"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't. The tour have done all the protocols they can.

"Unfortunately, you can't control guys going to get something to eat or whatever it might be, if you're staying in a hotel or room service or whatever it might be."

Expressing his concerns, the former US PGA winner added: "No offence to Hilton Head, but they're seeming to not take it very seriously.

"It's an absolute zoo around here. There are people everywhere. The beaches are absolutely packed, every restaurant, from what I've seen when I've been driving by, is absolutely crowded.

"So I would say it's still no coincidence that there's got to be a lot of stuff going on around here.

"Unfortunately, that's not on Nick because I know he's very cautious and has done everything he can, but I would say a lot of people in this area of Hilton Head just aren't."

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka revealed they had both been around Nick Watney before the American's positive test for coronavirus.

Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage before the second round on Friday after returning a positive test for COVID-19.

McIlroy, who is tied for 45th at five under, said he had exchanged texts with Watney after the pair were on the putting green together.

"Nick texted me actually because we had a chat on the putting green before I went out to play, but we were at a distance," the world number one said.

"He was just saying, 'Look, I hope I didn't get too close to you.' He feels badly that he was here today at the golf course. I said, 'It's fine, you never know.' I said to him, 'If I was in your position, I probably would have been here too. Look, at this point, you just have to concentrate on getting better and getting healthy.'

"But it sucks for him especially. You know, if you contract it, that's fine, but then it's the fact that who have you come into contact with, and who you might have exposed and stuff.

"Look, we're still in the middle of a pandemic. It's not as if this thing is over, so we all just have to stay vigilant and keep our distance and wear our masks if we're going out in public and keep washing our hands."

Koepka, who carded a five-under 66 to be three shots behind leader Webb Simpson, said he too had spent time with Watney before his round.

"I found out when we were playing 17, I think Daniel Berger told me," he said.

"I don't know too much about it, but I saw him this morning. I was right next to him in the parking lot."

There have been more than 8.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with the death toll exceeding 462,000.

Webb Simpson fired another six-under 65 to lead the RBC Heritage, while Brooks Koepka continued his strong start on Friday.

Simpson, the 2013 runner-up at the PGA Tour event, managed nine birdies and three bogeys, shooting a second straight 65 to get to 12 under.

The American holds a one-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau (64) and Corey Conners (63) after the second round, which was suspended for two hours due to dangerous weather.

Conners' bogey-free 63 was the equal best second round, alongside Jhonattan Vegas and Tyler Duncan.

DeChambeau, meanwhile, produced a stunning finish to his round, making six birdies on his final nine holes.

Ryan Palmer (67) and Matt Fitzpatrick (66) are at 10 under, sharing fourth spot on the leaderboard.

Koepka followed up his opening-round 67 with a 66 to be at nine under and in a tie for sixth alongside Abraham Ancer (64), Vegas, Matthew NeSmith (67) and Ian Poulter (69).

Dustin Johnson managed a five-under 66 to be at eight under, two shots better off than Jordan Spieth (70).

World number one Rory McIlroy got going with a six-under 65 that saw the Northern Irishman climb into a tie for 45th at five under.

Rickie Fowler and Jason Day were among the players to miss the cut on a day which saw Nick Watney withdraw after testing positive for coronavirus.

Rory McIlroy admitted he was uncomfortable as the world number one struggled during the RBC Heritage first round on Thursday.

McIlroy battled to a one-over 72 at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina to be well off the pace at the PGA Tour event.

The four-time major champion, playing the tournament for the first time since 2009, said it was hard to get comfortable during the opening round.

"I think just my overall comfort level. I wasn't particularly comfortable out there," the Northern Irishman told a news conference.

"I played here once before in '09, and I just can remember not being that comfortable around here then, and it's still sort of the same.

"I'm just not comfortable and sort of trying to pick lines and really commit to shots. I just wasn't as committed as I need to be around here."

McIlroy mixed three bogeys with two birdies to be left back in a tie for 101st after the first round.

Brooks Koepka believes commentators should "just shut up and listen" instead of asking players to wear microphones.

The PGA Tour has returned without fans in attendance amid the coronavirus pandemic, and players have been invited to wear microphones to give viewers greater insight.

However, most have reportedly opted not to do so, and four-time major champion Koepka said there was a simple solution if broadcasters wanted to have players heard.

"I don't understand why they want us to wear a mic when there is a boom mic 10 feet away from every shot that I hit," the American said after the RBC Heritage first round.

"If the announcers just shut up and listen you could hear every word that we're talking about. I don't understand what the thing is.

"Half the time the lady is holding a boom mic and she's listening to everything that we're saying all the way down.

"If they would just shut up they could hear everything."

Koepka opened the RBC Heritage with a four-under 67 to be three shots adrift of leaders Ian Poulter and Mark Hubbard.

Ian Poulter grabbed a share of the lead at the RBC Heritage as Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka made solid starts on Thursday.

Poulter and American Mark Hubbard carded seven-under 64s in the first round at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina to be tied atop the leaderboard.

Englishman Poulter has finished no lower than tied for 32nd in his past five events and the 44-year-old made seven birdies to begin the PGA Tour tournament.

Poulter and Hubbard share a one-stroke lead ahead of a group of seven players.

Sebastian Munoz, Viktor Hovland, Michael Thompson, Webb Simpson, Dylan Frittelli, Brice Garnett and Ryan Palmer opened with six-under 65s.

Coming off a top-10 finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge, former world number one Spieth made a fine start with a five-under 66.

The American recovered from a triple bogey at the par-four 12th hole – his third of the day – and was two over through his first 10 holes.

However, Spieth reeled off seven birdies from the second hole through the ninth, including six straight, to be tied for 10th.

Matthew NeSmith, Tony Finau, Matt Fitzpatrick, Erik van Rooyen and Mackenzie Hughes are alongside Spieth at five under.

Four-time major champion Koepka opened with a 67 to be tied for 16th alongside Rickie Fowler and Ernie Els, among others.

World number one Rory McIlroy, playing the tournament for the first time since 2009, battled to a one-over 72 to be well back.

Rory McIlroy has questioned whether the European golfers who decided against travelling to the United States for the resumption of the PGA Tour "really care" about their careers.

The Northern Irishman is known for his outspoken comments and his latest verbal volley is likely to provoke a strong reaction, especially as it applies to several of his Ryder Cup team-mates.

McIlroy finished in a tie for 32nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge as professional golf returned from its coronavirus-enforced shutdown last week, but the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari were absent.

With ranking points on the line once again, those who choose to sit out events will suffer, but McIlroy has little sympathy for them.

"Personally, if I were in their shoes and I was asked to come over to the States and shelter in place or quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that," said the four-time major winner, who is preparing for the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

"I mean, if you really care about your career and care about moving forward, you should be here, I think. Last week was 70 world ranking points for the winner, this week it's 74.

"And I get that there are different variables and families and stuff involved, but we all have the means to rent a very nice house in a gated community in Florida, and it's not a hardship for two weeks to come over and quarantine.

"I mean, it's fine. My caddie Harry came over and did it. He stayed in our guest house. The two weeks flew by.

"I honestly don't understand the guys complaining because there is a solution to it. You can come over here and do what needs to be done.

"It might seem a little harsh, but I don't get that mindset, especially if you care about your career and you want to advance."

Tiger Woods sealed a historic triumph at the U.S. Open on this day in 2000.

The American won by 15 strokes, which still stands as a record margin of victory at a major.

Woods' display at Pebble Beach is widely regarded as the greatest performance in golf history.

Here is a look at how Woods, then aged 24, secured his most dominant victory.

Round 1: 65 (leads by 1)

Woods issued an early statement of intent with a blemish-free opening round. He made the turn in 33 and proved relentless on the back nine, making a further four gains to move to six under par. Miguel Angel Jimenez was just one shot back.

Round 2: 69 (leads by 6)

The chasing pack, Jimenez included, could not keep pace amid worsening conditions on the Friday. Woods' round was halted by darkness and he returned the next day to finish up and sign for a 69, while Jimenez could only manage a 74 to sit level on two under with Thomas Bjorn, some six shots back from the imperious Woods.

Round 3: 71 (leads by 10)

By the close of the third round, that lead was an unassailable 10 strokes over Ernie Els. Despite having to play 24 holes on the Saturday and making a triple bogey on the third hole of his third round, Woods still left the rest of the field for dead. He finished the day as the only player under par and left the trophy engraver in little doubt as to what he would be carving into the silverware the next day.

Round 4: 67 (leads by 15)

Barring a meltdown of unfathomable proportions, Woods had the title in the bag. Yet he still wanted to finish in style, setting his sights on a bogey-free closing round. That was at risk when he stood over a 15-foot putt to save par at the 16th, but Woods sunk it and celebrated with vigour. It helped him to a final-round 67 and an overall score of 12 under, making it the first double-digit below-par score in tournament history. Jimenez and Els were his closest rivals on three over. The most resounding victory in major golf history was complete.

What they said:

"The only thing I know is I got the trophy sitting right next to me. To perform the way I did, and on one of the greatest venues in golf, it doesn't get much better than that." – Tiger Woods

"We've been talking about him for two years. I guess we'll be talking about him for the next 20. When he's on, we don't have much of a chance." – Ernie Els

"If you were building the complete golfer, you'd build Tiger Woods." – Mark O'Meara

Rory McIlroy dismissed suggestions his final rounds were an issue as he prepares for the RBC Heritage.

In the first tournament back after the coronavirus-enforced break, world number one McIlroy was in contention at the Charles Schwab Challenge before finishing in a tie for 32nd following a final-round 74.

The Northern Irishman is without a win in five starts this year, but McIlroy said Sundays were no issue.

"I wouldn't say that Sundays this year have been disappointing," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Maybe Bay Hill [at the Arnold Palmer Invitational], I would say was disappointing, and obviously last week, but that was just more annoying, like I played crap. That was really it.

"Like it wasn't as if it was anything to do with the position I was in or I got off to a really bad start and got into the rough on the front nine and hit decent shots that ended up in a bunker or a bad lie or whatever and just ... it's one of those things where the momentum just started going the other way.

"It's fine. I played okay last week. It was a good gauge to see where I was at and what I needed to practice and what I needed to do going into the next few weeks.

"Obviously disappointing not to shoot a good one on Sunday, but it was fine. I learnt quite a bit from it, and hopefully those lessons I can put into practice this week."

The Golden State Warriors and Tiger Woods both became champions again on June 16 in previous years, while Didier Deschamps' France also started their road to glory in Russia.

Steve Kerr's Warriors have dominated the NBA for much of the past half-decade, but five years ago they were trying to end a long championship drought.

Woods was already a multiple major winner by 2008, though his victory at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while he essentially played on one leg was one of his most incredible successes.

Here we take a look at major sporting events that have happened on June 16 in previous years.

 

2008 - Wounded Woods wins U.S. Open play-off

The 2008 U.S. Open had been due to finish on Sunday, June 15 but 72 holes could not separate Woods and veteran Rocco Mediate, so the two came back for 18 more on Monday.

Woods had a three-stroke lead through 10 holes but, clearly hampered by a serious knee injury, he was reeled in by the world number 158 and needed a birdie at the last to force a sudden death.

After 91 holes, Woods eventually emerged victorious to claim his 14th major title - four short of record-holder Jack Nicklaus' haul - though it would be another 11 years before he tasted major success again at the Masters.

It was later revealed Woods had played on with a double stress fracture and a torn anterior cruciate ligament, making his victory all the more remarkable.

2015 - Warriors end title drought

Finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers would become a regular theme, and it was Stephen Curry and Co. who came out on top in 2015, as they did in 2017 and 2018 too.

The 2015 series had been tied at 2-2 but a 104-91 Game 5 win gave Golden State the chance to end a 40-year wait for another title on June 16, which they did with a 105-97 Game 6 victory.

Curry and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 25 points apiece, with the latter winning praise for his defensive display against LeBron James, who would need to wait another 12 months before he brought a title to the long-suffering Cleveland fans.

2018 - VAR helps France edge past Australia

They may have undoubtedly been the best team at Russia 2018, but France had an underwhelming start to a campaign that would end with them winning the World Cup.

Les Bleus were thankful for VAR when it was used - for the first time ever in a World Cup match - to award them a controversial penalty after Josh Risdon's tackle on Antoine Griezmann originally went punished in Kazan.

Griezmann duly dispatched the penalty but Australia pulled level through Mile Jedinak's spot-kick, only for France to claim a 2-1 win 10 minutes from time courtesy of an own goal from Aziz Behich.

Rory McIlroy lamented his "bad start" after the world number one finished nine strokes behind Charles Schwab Challenge champion Daniel Berger.

McIlroy carded a final-round 74 to end the PGA Tour's comeback tournament tied for 32nd at six under, well adrift of Berger – who prevailed in a play-off against Collin Morikawa on Sunday.

Playing without fans at Colonial Country Club in the Tour's first event since the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season in March, McIlroy had a double bogey and four bogeys from his opening nine holes of the day.

The four-time major champion managed to collect three birdies following the turn, outweighing a bogey at the 15th hole in Texas, but it was too late.

"I got off to a really bad start," McIlroy said. "Hit a loose second shot on the first hole up to the right and then sort of messed around and took bogey there, so not the ideal start.

"The wind was up today. You didn't have to be that much off for it to sort of show and I missed a couple of greens in the wrong spots and made bogeys.

"But you know, played all the way to the end, shot a decent back nine. I was a couple under on the back, but front nine I just got into a rut and played a bad run of holes and obviously that put me out of the tournament."

McIlroy will now turn his attention to the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, where the Northern Irishman will play for the first time since 2009, when he was 19 years old.

Jordan Spieth insisted he had "gained a lot of confidence" from his performance at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

In contention at the Colonial Country Club, Spieth carded a one-over 71 in the final round to finish four shots from being in a play-off, which Daniel Berger won.

Spieth is winless since 2017, but the American now has two top-10 finishes in six events this year, as the PGA Tour returned amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The three-time major winner got plenty out of his performance in Fort Worth, Texas.

"I knew coming in I didn't have all the tools, didn't have all my weapons yet. But I certainly gained more this week, gained a lot of confidence," Spieth said.

"I'm making those putts from mid-to-long range and I'm driving the ball in good position.

"It's really just cleaning up the wedges and stuff that I'm normally really sharp with that certainly had a bit of rust on it. I feel really good going into the next couple of weeks for sure."

Spieth, who is set to play at the RBC Heritage starting on Thursday, said there were still elements of his game that needed work.

"Very pleased with my driving. I felt like I hit my driver really well," he said.

"I had one today where I just necked it and the wind picked up, and it took a big bounce and went out of bounds. It wasn't really that bad of a shot.

"But for the entire week I drove the ball, I felt, really well, put myself in position to make a lot of birdies and made a lot of birdies.

"I've just got to get sharper with kind of my in-between numbers, the stuff that when you're used to just kind of hitting balls on the range and not playing tournament golf and you're not really practising them as much, so that will be what I work on this next week."

Daniel Berger ended a three-year wait for another PGA Tour title, winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in a play-off on Sunday.

The American beat Collin Morikawa on the first play-off hole at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas in the first tournament back after the coronavirus-enforced break.

Berger carded a four-under 66 in the final round and Morikawa shot a 67 to finish at 15 under.

But as Berger made par at the first play-off hole – the 17th – Morikawa missed a short putt to stretch the tournament a little longer.

For Berger, it was his third PGA Tour victory and first since 2017, when he defended his St Jude Classic crown.

"It's just a range of emotions," the 27-year-old told CBS.

"I've grinded so hard the last two months to be in this position and I'm just so thankful that all the hard work paid off."

Overnight leader Xander Schauffele carded a one-under 69 to finish tied for third alongside Jason Kokrak (64), Bryson DeChambeau (66) and Justin Rose (66), a shot behind Berger and Morikawa.

Bubba Watson (65) and Patrick Reed (67) were a shot further back, while Gary Woodland (70) finished outright ninth at 12 under.

There was a star-studded chasing pack overnight and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were among them, but the American pair fired one-over 71s in the final round.

Spieth and Thomas finished tied for 10th alongside Im Sung-jae (67) and J.T. Poston (68).

World number one Rory McIlroy also struggled in the final round, battling to a four-over 74 to finish tied for 32nd.

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