Rickie Fowler hits out at R&A over Open Championship restrictions

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler has voiced his frustration at COVID-19 guidelines he and his fellow players will have to adhere to during next week’s Open Championship.

Fowler, 32, is aggrieved at what he perceives as something of a double standard in that players and their support networks are being rigorously monitored and restricted in what they can and cannot do, whilst up to 32,000 supporters will be able to roam around Royal St George’s each day.

Speaking to reporters at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the American said that “there are definitely some concerns” amongst players travelling to the championship from the US.

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He said: “Guys have been talking to me or have been talking to other guys, been making calls or sending texts back and forth with some of the people with the Open just with any questions or concerns that we have because there’s multiple things that come up as far as if there happens to be a couple people on the plane that test positive when you get there. You know, what happens with that?”

“It seems like us as players are having to jump through some hurdles and dodging bullets and they're having 32,000 fans a day at the tournament, so I don't know.”

In an email sent to players recently, the R&A outlined the coronavirus mitigation measures that will be in place at the championship. They include stipulations that players can stay in accommodation with up to three other people who must be part of the players’ “own support group”. In other words, players and their caddies cannot share property with other players and caddies.

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“We recognise this is difficult for many that used to share during the championship but the Government’s strict contact tracing requirements mean that this will not be possible in 2021,” stated the R&A.

It is understood that some American-based players have contemplated boycotting the championship in light of the restrictions, one unnamed pro telling Golfweek: “It’s aggravating that they deem the tournament safe enough for 32,000 fans a day to attend, but won’t let a player’s wife, children travel and watch the tournament, nor will they even let players visit a restaurant without threat of disqualification.”

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