HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Were it not for a wrist fitness tracker that gauges respiratory levels, Nick Watney would not have approached PGA Tour medical personnel to seek a coronavirus test that came back positive and forced him to withdraw from the RBC Heritage.
Both Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy said Saturday they had been in contact with Watney, who told them he was showing no symptoms from the coronavirus, but the Whoop device he wears on his arm showed an elevated respiratory rate on Friday morning. Watney was concerned that could mean he had the virus.
"If he would have not had that Whoop or whatever you call it, he would have played and nobody would have noticed,'' said Garcia, who shot 65 on Saturday and is two shots behind leader Tyrrell Hatton at Harbour Town Golf Club. "Nobody would have known. It shows the kind of person he is.
"He saw that something was a little bit off. He commented. He talked to the doctor, and a lot of other people probably would have just kind of gone on without even thinking about it. But he was worried about not only himself, but all of us, and he got out and tested. That shows a lot from him.''
Watney, 39, is self-isolating locally and will do so for at least 10 days. He was in touch via text with both Garcia and McIlroy, who had seen him on the putting green Friday.
Garcia said he traveled with Watney to the tournament on Tuesday. Both live in Austin, Texas, and Garcia has use of a private plane.
"I was a little bit afraid because I gave him a ride on Tuesday, but when we landed, we got tested,'' Garcia said. "We were both negative. So it was all good. Then I was surprised to hear that he tested positive three days later. I got my test done yesterday and I was negative.
"But it was about 4 ½ hours of waiting, very anxiously, hoping that it was negative because, obviously, after missing the cut last week by one and this week finally playing nicely in the second round and being in the middle of the pack, if I would have given positive, then I wouldn't be able to play on the weekend and I would have been very, very disappointed.
"Nick is unbelievable. He's a good friend. He was very worried about me. He sent me several texts. I talked to him. He must have said sorry to me probably 25 times. I told him that it's all good. Whatever it is, it is. Fortunately for me, it was fine. Hopefully his is not bad and we can have him back as soon as possible.''