While easing restrictions on COVID-19 across the United States, players from the PGA Tour traveling to The Open in England next month will experience protocols and procedures that are stricter than they have seen in months.
According to a “Player Information Update” sent this week and obtained by ESPN, The Open in Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, “operates under strict British government oversight”, according to Martin Slumbers, CEO of R&A, which operates The Open.
The tournament begins July 15th.
Among other things, players may not share accommodation and must test COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. They are not allowed to visit restaurants, bars or grocery stores – which have been allowed for months at the PGA Tour in the United States.
And yet the tournament is allowed to have up to 32,000 spectators a day at the venue in the southeastern part of the country. Although exact numbers were not reported during the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, last month, the spectator capacity allowed at The Open is probably the largest of any global golf event since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the players have fallen by the wayside, many people are learning that homes they previously secured will not be suitable for The Open. According to the information update, they can choose from a list of hotels provided by the R&A, or they can book their own private accommodation, but only for use by the player and team and with a maximum of four people.
“Please note that the UK has strict contact detection laws and that our ability to set up the championship depends on individuals not creating contacts other than their own team support group,” the update said.
Each player may bring one caddy plus two support team members. The latter can be a coach, manager, medical support or translator. Players can also choose to allow one family member to attend, but the person must already be in the UK, meet any quarantine requirements and stay in the same house as the player.
At the moment, everyone traveling from the United States to England must be tested before leaving and being quarantined for ten days. The quarantine is waived after five days with a negative COVID-19 test. The four persons, including the player, were exempted from the quarantine criteria.
‘All accredited players, cadets and members of the player support, including family members, will be subject to the championship for the duration of time under strict’ inner bubble ‘restrictions and may not interact with members of the general public in restaurants, supermarkets or other public do not mix. The update said: “No one outside the accommodation group may visit others in self-catering / private accommodation. This will be seen as a breach of the COVID-19 protocols and could lead to the withdrawal from the championship.”
Players can also be removed from the tournament if they are considered as contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Unlike the PGA tournament, which has to be tested daily for a person who is considered a contact, the R&A can disqualify such a player without a positive test.
One player’s agent, who asked not to be identified, told ESPN: “No bars, no restaurants, no grocery stores and no walk to the track. Crazy! One player can not go to the other’s either. “houses do not go for dinner. We will actually eat everything, eat our meals at the course or have groceries delivered.”
An anonymous player told Golfweek.com: “I’m going because it’s the British Open. But I definitely thought about not going. I just can not believe with the many examples of successful tournaments and majors that are successful. offered, that they could not find a better situation.
“If someone in your plane is positive on the way to the British and is sitting anywhere near you, you are gone, no questions asked, no matter if you have been vaccinated. It is aggravating that they consider the tournament safe enough for 32,000 fans a day to attend, but do not let a player’s wife or children travel and watch the tournament, and do not let players even visit a restaurant without the threat of disqualification. ‘
The European tour has been under similar restrictions since its return to July last year. The PGA Tour gradually lifted various protocols throughout the pandemic. In April, the tour announced its membership that players will no longer have to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests if they are fully vaccinated. Contact protocols will also be rejected for such players.
The UK government recently extended its mask and restrictions until July 19 for fear of spreading the Delta variant of COVID-19 first detected in India. The United States is on the country’s Amber list for travel, which needs testing and quarantine.
Pete Cowen, a UK instructor who works with several players, including Rory McIlroy, was planning to share a large RV with several kadies near the driveway, he told the Telegraph newspaper in the UK The plans are now down due to the restrictions.
“It was not cheap, but it was the most sensible option in the current climate,” Cowen said. “But we have just found out that we are not allowed to stay together because it violates government protocols.”
Cowen later added: “Every day 32,000 fans will be admitted and they say we can stay in nothing but the dedicated hotels – most of which are already sold out – because we would mix it up and we can not stay together like we were not on the PGA Tour last year.
“We have all been vaccinated and will be tested before we are admitted. This ‘bubble’ we have created between each other has not caused any problems at all.
‘It does not make sense at all when there will be 60,000 at Wembley [for soccer], 140,000 on Silverstone [racetrack] and everyone at Wimbledon the weekend before – sitting side by side. I suppose I should be grateful at all, as the wording of the [regulations] made me believe that instructors would be banned. ‘
The R&A said in its update that the British government requires the restrictions.