Lee Westwood Says Quarantining for PGA Tour Events 'Just Not Worth It'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

Lee Westwood of England tees off at the second hole during the third round for the WGC-Mexico Championship golf tournament, at the Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Fernando Llano/Associated Press

Lee Westwood is planning to skip the Charles Schwab Challenge and the RBC Heritage when PGA Tour events resume next month.  

The reason? He doesn't believe quarantining for two weeks when he arrives in the United States from his home in the United Kingdom—mandatory for any international traveler coming into the country during the coronavirus pandemic—is worth the trouble.

"Right now, I won't be playing them," he told the Golf Channel during an interview Wednesday (h/t Bob Harig of 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."

England's Tommy Fleetwood also said he won't be traveling to the United States with quarantining rules in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least in the short term.

"I'm not going to travel to America and stay away for four months," he told Ewan Murray of The Guardian last week. "That is simply not a consideration."

So that removes two major golfers from PGA Tour events next month in Westwood (No. 31 in the world rankings) and Fleetwood (No. 10), though Harig noted Fleetwood is "considering a later arrival that would allow him to stay for all of the major championships and the Ryder Cup."

The two-week quarantine could also conflict with tournament schedules. The British Masters (July 30-Aug. 2), for instance, comes a week before the PGA Championship in San Francisco. If those dates hold, Westwood would have to choose between the two. Considering he is the host of the British Masters, he'd likely be missing the PGA Championship.

So it's a complicated situation for PGA Tour golfers who don't reside in the United States. And Westwood acknowledged that public safety comes first.

"Obviously, people want something to watch, and it's a good way to kick-start your economy," he said of golf returning. "But we don't want a second wave, so we have to make sure we are very, very safe."