Lee Westwood: 'Not worth it' to play early PGA Tour events with travel restrictions


Lee Westwood is excited to get back to work, but he knows a return will have to wait if current international travel guidelines remain in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Westwood won earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a victory that pushed him back inside the top 50 of the world rankings. Both the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage have provisions that allow top-50 players to enter, and Westwood is currently penciled into the field for each of the first two PGA Tour events back from a two-month hiatus.

But the Englishman is one of what the Tour estimates to be 25 players currently living outside the U.S., and in speaking with Golf Channel's Todd Lewis he shared that the current quarantine restrictions surrounding international travel will likely preclude him from playing either tournament.

"Right now I won't be playing them, not with having to leave here two weeks before, quarantine, then play the two tournaments, then come back here and quarantine again," Westwood said. "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."

PGA Tour working to keep all safe and get foreign players on U.S. soil

Last week PGA Tour officials shared that current federal quarantine guidelines are "likely to continue" beyond the Tour's return to competition June 11-14 at Colonial, putting the onus on international players to arrive back in the U.S. in enough time to complete a potential two-week quarantine prior to competing.

"We are working with the federal government to facilitate the return of players and caddies who are currently residing outside of the United States, and we're optimistic that that's going to occur," said Tour senior vice president of tournament administration Andy Levinson.

Westwood is also facing further scheduling issues later this summer. He is the host of the BetFred British Masters, which is slated for July 30-Aug. 2 and is expected to be the first European Tour event to be played since March. With the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park the next week, Westwood realizes that he'll likely have to skip a major championship in order to host the event at Close House if the current quarantine guidelines remain in effect.

"It looks that way," he said.

Westwood described the role of being the first European event in nearly five months as "a mix of excitement and trepidation," and confirmed that the event will not allow fans if it's held as currently scheduled. But he supports a cautious approach as the global sport looks to return from a pandemic.

"It's a tough situation. We can't afford anything to go wrong, and this virus to spread any more than it has done," he said. "It's going to be a fine line, and it's a balance between having the tournaments but limiting the spread of the virus. Obviously people want something to watch, and it's a good way to kick-start your economy. But also we don't want a second wave (of the virus), so we have to make sure we're very, very safe."


More Related News

Tiger Woods to return next week at Muirfield Village
Tiger Woods to return next week at Muirfield Village

The PGA Tour returned five weeks ago with some of its strongest fields. Tiger Woods announced Thursday on Twitter he will play next week at the Memorial, a tournament he has won a record five times, as he goes after his record 83rd career victory on the PGA Tour. It will end a five-month break from competition for Woods.

Tiger Woods to return next week at Memorial Tournament
Tiger Woods to return next week at Memorial Tournament

Tiger Woods is making his long-awaited return to the PGA Tour at next week's Memorial Tournament.

'The Covid-19 Threeball': PGA Tour players who tested positive allowed to tee off at Workday Charity Open

Three players on the PGA Tour will be allowed to tee off in the first round of the Workday Charity Open on Wednesday despite testing positive for coronavirus. Officials have decided to send the trio out in the same group - inevitably labelled 'The Covid-19 Threeball' - but whether this assuages the other players in the field - including Spain's Jon Rahm, who would replace Rory McIlroy as world No 1 with victory in Ohio - remains to be seen. Nick Watney, Denny McCarthy and Dylan Frittelli have all tested positive since the Tour's restart last month and have immediately withdrawn from the respective tournaments as a result. They have been tested at regular times since, but continued to test...

How to make 1 golf course look like 2 different tournaments
How to make 1 golf course look like 2 different tournaments

Muirfield Village will look the same to those watching at home, minus the grandstands and thousands of spectators spread across the course Jack Nicklaus built. The challenge for the PGA Tour is to make it feel different to the players who will be in Dublin, Ohio, the next two weeks. For the first time in 63 years, two PGA Tour events are being held on the same golf course in consecutive weeks.

Q&A Gray: Can Brawny Brooks wrestle back the spotlight from Beefy Bryson?
Q&A Gray: Can Brawny Brooks wrestle back the spotlight from Beefy Bryson?

From a couple former world No. 1s to a familiar face on the bag, here are some burning questions heading into the first leg of the Tour's double-dip in Ohio.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Golf