Shane Lowry has said that The R&A are doing a “great job” with the current COVID-19 restrictions in place at this year’s Open Championship.
As part of the protocol for the week, The R&A has said that players will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering the country and another on arrival at Royal St. George’s.
Players will not be allowed to visit restaurants, bars, shops and must stay in either an official hotel or in a private self-catering home with a maximum of four occupants. In other words, players and their caddies cannot share property with other players and caddies.
Lowry, 34, has said that the restrictions are worth it in exchange for fans returning to the galleries.
“It's not ideal, but that's the world we live in at the minute,” said the Irishman. “That's the rules we have to abide by. If you test positive, you can't play. That's why the R&A have done a great job and they're doing a good job this week of trying to keep us away from as many people as they can.
“I know there's going to be 32,000 people there. I think that's great for the tournament, but us as players, I'm in my own bubble at my own house and I'm not leaving. I'm not allowed to do any of that stuff, and I think that's good.
“Like I don't want to be here playing in front of nobody, so I think it's great that there's 32,000 people, and I was very excited when I heard that there was going to be that many people here.”
Lowry even went on to suggest that the protocols in place could give him a better chance of success.
"It's a bubble, but I don't think I'll be doing anything different than I normally do," he said. "I reckon if it was a normal Open and I was defending I might have a couple more things to do, so it probably is working in my favour a little bit as regards my performance."
The five-time European Tour winner admitted that 2020 was a tough year for him, but that he’s now feeling in confident shape to defend the Claret Jug.
“I think I struggled last year coming out of lockdown,” he added. “I was playing great. I've never played as much golf in my life, and I just was stale when I got out there. I just couldn't get it going.
“There is always that little bit of anxiousness to get out there and get going on a Thursday morning, and it'll be the same this week. I know I finished kind of middle of the pack at the Irish Open in Lahinch, but I really felt like my golf was quite good. When I look back I was in a great place.”