PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA Tour’s decision to play the final three rounds of The Players, as well as the next three tournaments, without fans marked the first time golf in the United States has been impacted by the coronavirus. Francesco Molinari has been dealing with the outbreak for weeks.
Molinari has family in Italy who have endured weeks of self-quarantine, but it was Wednesday’s announcement by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would impose a travel ban from Europe that has him most concerned at the moment.
“We are trying to understand. It’s complicated living in one country, being from another country, working in a third country. We’re just trying to figure out what the situation is going to be,” said Molinari following his first round at TPC Sawgrass. “The main thing for me now is staying with my family.”
Molinari’s wife and children are at home in London, and even through the travel ban doesn’t include the United Kingdom his family would be traveling with European passports which could complicate the situation. There is also a concern that if he travels to England to be with his family he might not be able to return to the U.S. for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in two weeks or next month’s Masters.
On Thursday, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked how the travel ban could impact the circuit’s international players.
“Well, we're a global membership, 93 players from 28 countries. And we're considering every single member and every single decision that we make and the fact that there is now a travel ban from Europe to the U.S. obviously has implications for several of our members,” he said.