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pull-out European Ryder Cup skipper Pádraig Harrington tests positive for Covid-19

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Padraig Harrington has tested positive for Covid-19.

Padraig Harrington has tested positive for Covid-19.

Padraig Harrington has tested positive for Covid-19.

European Ryder Cup skipper Pádraig Harrington has been forced to withdraw from this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Dubliner (49) returned to the US last week to compete in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where there were limited crowds of up to 5,000 a day at TPC Scottsdale.

He will now undergo a period of self-isolation under American CDC guidelines.

Harrington missed the cut in the event, his first failure to make the weekend since the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle in last September.

“Harrington will have the PGA TOUR’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines,” the PGA Tour said in a statement announcing that first alternate Sangmoon Bae will replace Harrington in the field.

Harrington is the first Irish touring professional to test positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic struck last March.

He had high hopes of his latest stint on US soil having planned to play this week at Pebble Beach and in next week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

He does not qualify for the World Golf Championships at The Concession or The Players Championship but he is scheduled to tee it up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill from March 4-7 and the Honda Classic from March 18-21.

The PGA Tour has yet to confirm when Harrington might be able to return to competition in accordance with its Heath and Safety Plan and Covid-19 protocols.

Harrington was looking forward to competing at Pebble Beach, which will not have a Pro-Am element this year due to Covid-19.

The 156-strong field will play over just two courses — Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Club — instead of the three.

Seamus Power is the only Irish entrant remaining in the field which is without world number one Dustin Johnson.

Winner of the event in 2009 and 2010, Johnson won the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia on Sunday and decided to withdraw from Pebble Beach.

Johnson’s agent, David Winkle said: “Following his successful week in Saudi Arabia, Dustin has decided it would be best to enjoy a week at home before The Genesis Invitational and the World Golf Championships at The Concession. Other than being a bit jet lagged, he is feeling great and looking forward to the weeks ahead.

“While he is disappointed to miss the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is always one of his favourite weeks, he feels his decision is for the best.”

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