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    Sergio García, Leading the Players Championship, Still Has Covid on His Mind

    #masthead-section-label, #masthead-bar-one { display: none }The Coronavirus OutbreakliveLatest UpdatesMaps and CasesRisk Near YouVaccine RolloutGuidelines After VaccinationAdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storySergio García, Leading the Players Championship, Still Has Covid on His MindGarcía tested positive for the coronavirus just ahead of the Masters in November, and with a trip to Augusta National just weeks away, he is plotting ways to avoid the slight risk of reinfection.Sergio García had a two-shot lead over Brian Harman at the end of play on Thursday.Credit…Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesMarch 11, 2021, 9:04 p.m. ETPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — When Sergio García was asked on Thursday how he ended up leading the Players Championship with a first-round 65 while Rory McIlroy, who was part of the same threesome, shot a seven-over-par 79, García raised his right hand and held his thumb and index finger about a quarter-inch apart.“It’s the littlest things — tiny little things — that can make a round go from wrong to right,” García said. “It doesn’t take much.”Little things have been on García’s mind for a while, ever since a positive coronavirus test in early November forced him to withdraw from the Masters just days before the tournament, which in 2017 yielded his greatest triumph in the game.García said his Covid-19 symptoms were minor, although he believed that he infected his wife, Angela, who had a slightly worse reaction. He did not play again until mid-January, although part of that gap was a typical off-season layoff.García’s performances have been nondescript this year, and with the next Masters — back in its usual spot on the calendar — only weeks away, he is plotting a more cautious strategy to avoid reinfection with the virus, however slight that risk.Fans have returned to PGA Tour events, with as many as 10,000 welcome each day at the Players Championship this week, and García is happy for the energy the spectators bring. But he is wary, too.“You know that at any time you might get it from any one of them,” García, 41, said. “Not that they’re trying to give it to you or anything, but it might happen.”He added: “I would love to get closer to the fans, but there’s too much at risk for us. And if we get Covid, we pay the price. No one else does. So we have to be very careful as the fans come back into our game.”Rory McIlroy laughing with García during their opening round together.Credit…Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesGarcía, who had a two-stroke lead over Brian Harman on Thursday when play was suspended because of darkness, also said he would skip the tour event the week before the Masters. Last year, he had played in the Houston Open, where he missed the cut and began to notice cold-like symptoms shortly thereafter.García’s view of the Masters, and his zeal to play in it, has changed considerably since the 2017 tournament, the only major victory of a luminous career that needed a signature moment. His success that year was, apparently, all about the little things.The Coronavirus Outbreak More