Test all PGA players and caddies: McIlroy

World No.1 Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour should be shut down immediately if any player or caddie tests positive for the coronavirus.

RORY MCILROY of Northern Ireland.
RORY MCILROY of Northern Ireland. Picture: David Cannon/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has called for every PGA player and caddie to be tested for Covid-19 and says the Tour should shut down if anyone has the virus.

The world No.1's comments follows the announcement the Tour will go ahead without fans for the remainder of the Players Championship with the coronavirus spreading around the world.

"My mother's got respiratory issues and I certainly don't want to get something and pass it on to her and all of a sudden there's some sort of complication," he told reporters after the opening round of the PGA event.

He urged the Tour to test all players, caddies and officials.

"More than anything, everyone needs to get tested,' McIlroy said.

"I saw there's commercial labs now that are testing at some capacity, I guess, and for us to keep playing on the PGA Tour, all the tour players and people who are involved need to get tested and make sure no one's got it.

"Because everyone knows you can have it and not have symptoms and pass it on to someone who's more susceptible to getting very ill from it."

Earlier on Thursday, US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced the next three tour events after the Players Championship would go ahead but without fans until the Texas Open in early April.

"It's (coronavirus) in its infancy here in the United States, and it's going to get worse before it gets better," said McIlroy.

"It's a scary time, and I think that the PGA Tour have made a step in the right direction and I think we just have to play it by ear and take it day by day.

"Today's overreaction could look like tomorrow's underreaction."

McIlroy added he can't see how fans will be allowed inside the gates at Augusta National.

Augusta National Golf Club, which runs the Masters, is believed to be exploring all options of how to run the tournament.

They are expected to make a decision on the 2020 edition next week, although that could come as early as this weekend.

But the Northern Irishman says he does not need to wait for the club's announcement to know whether it should go ahead with fans in attendance.

"I don't see how they can let spectators in if they do play it at this point," McIlroy said, with a crowd of approximately 200,000 fans expected over the three practice days and four tournament days.

McIlroy shot an even-par 72 to trail leader Hideki Matsuyama by nine shots at TPC Sawgrass.


AAP