Lee Westwood has ruled out travelling to the United States for the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational and the US PGA Championship, despite the US relaxing restrictions on international visitors travelling to the country.
The requirement for visitors to quarantine for two weeks has been lifted, which would allow Westwood to take his place in the field at both TPC Southwind in Memphis and TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
However, the former world No.1 has decided against making the trip because of his concerns that the USA isn’t taking the coronavirus “as seriously as the rest of the world”.
“I still don’t feel comfortable and I don’t feel like it is right to jump on a plane for 12 hours,” said Westwood. “I’ve felt like out of my comfort zone this week, so if I got to Memphis I would feel uncomfortable playing golf tournaments at the moment.
“I’m 28 years of playing on tour and this is a shock to the system, isn’t it? Whenever I come out and play the tournaments now it is almost about seeing my mates and the sociable element of it all and you’re not getting that at the moment. You finish playing golf and go to the range. I’ve never seen so many players on the range at 8 o’clock at night trying to avoid their hotel rooms.”
Earlier this week, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston withdrew from the British Masters after only nine holes citing unease over COVID-19, whilst Brittany Lincicome has confirmed that she won’t be making the journey from the US to Scotland for next month’s AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon for similar reasons.
Westwood admitted the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has impacted upon him, too.
“There is a lot of think about where to play coming up really,” he added. “It’s just not the life I’m used to. I go out on the golf course and I am struggling for motivation a little bit. There is a lot more to consider. The two America tournaments, next week and the following week, I’m still more concerned that America doesn’t take it as seriously as the rest of the world. It still seems to be one of the hotspots for outbreaks.
“I can control me not getting the virus and take all the measures I can, but somebody might pass it on. I don’t really want to get ill with it and I’m slightly asthmatic.
"If I tested in Memphis I would have to stay there for two weeks and I’m not sure about insurance policies etc. Right now there are too many ‘what ifs’. If you take all them into consideration, there is something wrong.
"So, probably Hanbury Manor [host of the English Championship] will be next for me. I feel like I should play in a few of the UK Swing events to support the European Tour because they have done such an unbelievable job of putting on these tournaments.”