Tour pro details extraordinary race to get out of Africa

Dp World Tour Flags

When the history books are written, they will presumably record the first week of the DP World Tour as ‘chaotic’.

The new-look, newly-named circuit saw its first event – the Joburg Open – reduced to 36 holes as a result of both inclement weather and the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The emergence of the new strain prompted the UK Government to put South Africa back on the travel ‘red list’, prompting more than a dozen British and Irish players to withdraw ahead of Friday’s second round in a bid to make it home before new quarantine rules came into effect over the weekend.

• Brooks reveals in beating DeChambeau

• New COVID variant forces tour into tweaks

That, though, was far from straightforward.

bunkered.co.uk understands that the tour attempted to arrange a charter for players, caddies and officials from Joburg to Dubai only for that flight to be cancelled when authorities in the UAE revoked the travel permit.

In a lengthy Twitter post, English pro Matt Ford shed some light on the chaos that ripped through the opening event of the 2022 DP World Tour season.

“Only 48 hours ago, I woke up thinking of good things to make up for a poor first round in the Joburg Open,” said Ford, now safely quarantining at home. “At 7.30am on Friday, lucky, a friend ‘Macca’ [Richard McEvoy] was banging on my room door and asked if I had seen the news.

• Two injured after pigs invade golf course

“The thought of not being able to get home to my family was my main concern. Within a few hours, I had uncomfortably rushed to book an extortionately priced new flight home through Ethiopia and Turkey and driven to an express PCR testing centre in a suburb of Johannesburg.

“[I] then quickly packed up, checked out of the hotel got a taxi and joined what seemed like an eternity of multiple long queues for people to question the endless paperwork and hoops we are made to jump through.”

Ford, 43, finally made it home to Kent after a 30-hour scramble but is now isolating away from his young family to save them from having to self-isolate, too. Compounding matters, his golf clubs have gone missing in transit.

• Government mulling over Ryder Cup bid

• OPINION - "Shaun Murphy wrong about amateurs"

“I do love my job but moments like this make you wonder,” he added. “Being able to see my family through a window is a lot harder than I thought but those first hugs will be amazing.”

Ford’s fellow Englishman Dale Whitnell described trying to get home from South Africa as “catastrophic”.

“How the UK can leave people out with the washing is beyond me,” he tweeted. “Flight booked tonight via one of the countries not red listed yet. £15k and counting?”

Share this Article

share-logo
twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
2022 Driver Test | Which one is going in my bag?
Drivers
play button
The most powerful PING irons ever? | PING i525 review
Ping
play button
I'll be using the Vokey SM9 wedges... and you should too
Titleist
play button
The driver that has it all? | COBRA LTDx drivers REVIEWED!
Cobra
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Your chance to win a lesson... with Rory McIlroy!
Tiger Woods to meet PGA Tour stars over LIV fears
Justin Thomas SLAMS Will Zalatoris’ mentor over “aggressive” tweets
Twitter reacts as Cam Smith withdraws from BMW Championship
Ewen Ferguson gives perfect response to Twitter troll

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods: Inside his $41million Florida mansion
The very best pubs in St Andrews
The Scottish Golf Course Emoji Quiz!
24 lies every bad golfer tells
Doug Sanders: The extraordinary life of golf's original playboy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Stand closer to the ball
Watch
play button
A simple takeaway drill from Peter Barber
Watch
play button
Hold your finish to improve your discipline
Watch
play button
Maintaining your posture
Watch
See all videos right arrow