This year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Lee Westwood has said it is “not worth it” to play in the United States this summer due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantining issues that surround global travel.
The 47-year-old is exempt to play the first two events on the PGA Tour when it returns next month but is unlikely to fly out from his UK base and has confirmed he will also miss the rescheduled PGA Championship in San Francisco in August.
“If I travel it means I’ve got to go two weeks before and quarantine myself, play the two events, then come back home and quarantine here, so it’s six weeks out to play two events,” said Westwood. “To me that’s not worth it, and it’s not worth taking the risks because if those kind of precautionary measures are in place then golf isn’t a priority.”
The 25-times European Tour winner is preparing to host the European Tour’s return to action in July at the Betfred British Maters at Close House and acknowledges the issues that the decision makers at the Tour are facing are complex.
“I think all being well the British Masters will be the first event back on the European tour, and Close House is in fantastic condition – we could have the tournament today,” said the World No.31. “The golf course has had 7 or 8 weeks of no play, so that rest has done it good, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we can have a successful tournament.
“It’s a tough situation at the moment because the European Tour can’t afford anything to go wrong and for the virus to spread any more than it has.
“It’s a balance between having tournaments and limiting the spread, but obviously people want something to watch and it’s a step towards kick-starting the economy – but we don’t want that second wave. So we’ve got to make sure everything is safe.
“I think the atmosphere will be mixed, it’s going to be played behind closed doors with no fans but between the players there’ll be a mix of excitement and trepidation.” – Lee Westwood
“I think players perhaps will be a bit wary of not doing the wrong thing and that they follow the correct protocol that will be in place.”