(Reuters) - Dylan Frittelli, Nick Watney and Denny McCarthy completed the first round of the PGA Tour's Workday Charity Open on Thursday after all three spent 10 days in quarantine following positive COVID-19 tests.
The trio were allowed to play after the Tour updated its return-to-work protocols on Wednesday and were grouped together at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio.
Under the revised protocols, a player who tests positive can return after spending 10 days in self‑isolation from the point the symptoms originated and has not shown symptoms, such as a fever or cough, for three days.
Frittelli told reporters on Thursday he was happy to be back on the course after testing positive during the Travelers Championship last month. He tested positive twice this week but has only ever had minor symptoms.
"The Tour is trying to monitor things as they move, and scientists and biologists are still figuring stuff out today," said the South African, who won his lone PGA Tour event last year at the John Deere Classic.
"I'm glad the Tour have kept their finger on the pulse."
PGA Tour medical advisor Dr. Tom Hospel had said on Wednesday that in the beginning stages of the illness the virus is assumed to be an "active virus that can cause infection".
But as time passes and as symptoms resolve, "the theory is that this virus, this particle that's being detected in the nasopharyngeal swab, is no longer active or contagious."
Frittelli would have been defending his John Deere title this week but the event was scrapped due to the pandemic, which forced the tour to suspend play for three months and has not allowed fans to attend events since it resumed in mid-June.
Frittelli and McCarthy each fired 73s while Watney shot a 77.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Peter Rutherford)