JUNO BEACH, FLA. – Tyler Strafaci decided to wait until next week to turn professional because he wanted to play in the 48th Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club.

But Strafaci had to withdraw from his singles match just before his tee time Saturday when he became the latest golfer to be hit by the stomach virus that has marred this Walker Cup. The reigning U.S. Amateur champion was scheduled to play Ben Jones at 3:03 p.m. ET when he had to withdraw after becoming sick on the range.

“(Tyler missing the Walker Cup) is the least of my concerns,” Tyler’s father, Frank, said a short while later. “I’m following an ambulance that’s going to the hospital.”

The USGA said Strafaci was receiving fluids at a local hospital.

At least 15 players on the U.S. and Great Britain and Ireland teams have gotten sick this week from what USGA officials said was a gastro-intestinal issues (not COVID-19 or food poisoning). U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby Jr. had to be hospitalized this week, as well.

Both teams had to go to alternates for the first time in the Walker Cup’s 99-year history because of the virus. The only reason the alternates were on site this year was due to COVID-19 precautions.

Two alternates, Mac Meissner of the U.S. and Jake Bolton of GB&I, were subbed into Saturday morning foursomes matches and led their teams to a win. Strafaci was replaced by William Mouw. GB&I also replaced Joe Long with Matty Lamb in a singles match.

Because of the stomach virus affecting both teams, the USGA changed its rules so the captains could delay announcing their foursomes and singles lineup until late Friday night and midday Saturday, respectively.

“It’s been bizarre for a lot of reasons,” Crosby, a Seminole member, said before Strafaci’s WD. “I think we have a one-up lead on guys who got sick this week (eight U.S. players to seven for GB&I).

“Hat’s off to the USGA for being flexible. You don’t want to put guys out there who are sick and ask them to play 36 holes.”

Strafaci is scheduled to make his professional debut this upcoming week at the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson Classic.



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