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Zach Johnson hits the second tee in the final round of the John Deere Classic Golf Tournament on Sunday, July 11, 2021 at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

SANDWICH, England (AP) – Former champion Zach Johnson tested positive for coronavirus before taking a charter flight for the British Open, forcing him to join the growing list of withdrawals and ending his streak of 69 tournaments consecutive majors.

The R&A said Johnson, who played in the John Deere Classic in Illinois on Sunday, and local qualifier Louis de Jager of South Africa tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew.

John Deere Classic finalist Ryan Moore chose not to accept the exemption as the best top-five player who was not already at the British Open. Instead of giving way to Luke List, who tied for third, she went to Adam Long as the next available on the reserve list.

Johnson, who won the burgundy jug at St. Andrews in 2015 after a three-way playoff, missed the Masters in his rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2004. He has played in every major from then until the British. Open.

John Deere players were tested before the charter flight to England.

This brings to 16 the number of players who have retired or have chosen not to take their place on the field for the 149th edition of the oldest golf championship.

The British Open was the only major tournament to be canceled last year due to the pandemic. It comes back under strict protocols by the UK government, and some instituted by the R&A, such as banning players from staying with anyone except their own small core of people.

Johnson did not play the third or fourth round with any other player in the British Open.

The last players to retire have been replaced by Long, Sam Horsfield of England and Dylan Frittelli of South Africa.

The peloton is already missing seven of the world’s top 75 players, which is unusual for a major.

Some had no choice. Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama at No.18 was the highest-ranked player to retire. He tested positive for COVID-19 on July 2 during the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and although he went through 10 days of self-isolation without symptoms, his tests still come back positive.

The PGA Tour had this problem a year ago with positive tests. U.S. health officials have said PCR tests can detect remnants of the virus even if it is no longer active. But according to British guidelines, Matsuyama is expected to produce a negative test.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson said he came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and pulled out. Under the R&A requirements sent to players on June 22, anyone identified as a contact must self-isolate and be removed.

Other players cited international travel requirements (Kevin Na) or the emphasis on preparing instead for the Olympics (Sungjae Im, Siwoo Kim, Juvic Pagunsan). Men’s competition at the Tokyo Olympics begins 11 days after the end of the British Open.

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