Chase Koepka receives spot in 2021 Travelers Championship
Bowed out as precautionary measure this year despite not testing positive for COVID-19
June 25, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Chase Koepka Monday qualified this week but decided not play out of an abundance of caution. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Monday qualifier Chase Koepka will get to play in the Travelers Championship after all.
He’ll just be playing in 2021.
Tournament Director Nathan Grube confirmed Thursday that Koepka – who Monday qualified for this year’s Travelers only to later withdraw for precautionary reasons related to the coronavirus – has a standing invitation to play in next year’s tournament.
“It is 100% confirmed,” Grube said. “I called Chase this morning and I said, ‘Listen, I don’t know if you’ll even need it next year, but if you need a spot, we have you covered. We were so excited for you, so looking forward to see you play, and we know you’re disappointed. But you’re here (next year). You’ve got a spot.’”
Reached at home as he watched the first round of the Travelers, Koepka, 26, said, “I was ecstatic when I got the call this morning. I obviously didn’t know something like that would happen.”
Koepka shot 67 and survived a five-for-two playoff in the Travelers qualifier at Ellington Ridge Country Club on Monday. His older brother Brooks, the former world No. 1, watched him come up the 18th hole and in the playoff, and they celebrated afterward.
It seemed like a nice story. Then everything got flipped.
Chase’s plans for this week changed after the caddies for brother Brooks and Graeme McDowell tested positive for the virus. Koepka and McDowell, although they tested negative, withdrew out of an abundance of caution. Chase also tested negative but also withdrew as a precautionary measure, having played a practice round with Brooks and McDowell (and their caddies) early in the week.
“I feel as if this is the best decision to keep all other players, caddies and volunteers safe,” Chase Koepka said. Brooks and others praised his selflessness; from the outside, it looked like a tough blow for a guy trying to establish a foothold in the professional game.
Chase played on Europe’s Challenge Tour last season, and has status on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020. He had been looking forward to making his third PGA TOUR start this season at the Travelers – his best career result is a fifth-place finish with Brooks at the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans – and trying to make the most of his hard-earned start.
Now he’ll get that start after all.
“It makes me feel so great that they saw what I did,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t need the start and can find a way to earn my PGA TOUR card for next year.”