The PGA Tour is less than three weeks away from beginning again after being halted to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But it could go on without a number of international players who would find it difficult to abide by two-week quarantine restrictions and take all that time away from their families.
Westwood won’t play PGA Tour events due to quarantine
Lee Westwood, ranked No. 31 in the world, is entered in the first two events scheduled since the tour went on hiatus due to COVID-19. But he said in an interview with the Golf Channel he doesn’t intend to compete due to the quarantine requirements for overseas players.
“Right now, I won't be playing them," Westwood said in the interview, per ESPN. “Not with having to leave here two weeks before, quarantine, then play the two tournaments, then come back here and quarantine again. It's six weeks for two tournaments, and to me, that's just not worth it.
“And it's not worth taking the risk if everybody thinks that those kind of precautions have got to be in place. I don't feel like golf's a priority if it's that severe.’”
The Charles Schwab Challenge begins June 8 in Fort Worth and the RBC Heritage is set for June 18 in Hilton Head, South Carolina. For any of the approximately 25 current international players to compete in the first event they would need to be in the states by Monday to practice and compete.
Westwood is a 25-time European Tour winner and won the Abu Dhabi Championship earlier this year.
British Masters complicates PGA schedule
Westwood’s situation is complicated by the British Masters, set to be held July 30-Aug. 2. He is hosting the 2020 event — becoming the first player to host twice, joining 2017 — and it’s the first European Tour stop scheduled since March.
The date misses the PGA Championship in San Francisco, but only by a week. And if quarantine stipulations are still in place, Westwood would not be able to compete.
The British Masters will not allow spectators. Westwood called bringing golf back a “fine line.” Via ESPN:
"Obviously, people want something to watch, and it's a good way to kick-start your economy. But we don't want a second wave, so we have to make sure we are very, very safe."
As for the European Tour, chief executive Keith Pelley said it’s planning a return this summer with "robust testing and hygiene processes,” per the Golf Channel. It is considering a “bubble” type of model in the United Kingdom that would include the nearby British Open.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who hosted the British Masters last year, is another international player who has said he won’t return to the states to compete in the first few events. He said he will try to arrive later to pack in a lot of critical events at once, including the Ryder Cup.
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