The White House has eased travel restrictions for players, caddies and other essential personnel entering the United States to compete on the PGA Tour.
Players were informed late Friday via email that the move is based on groups who are “subject to COVID-19 testing and screening through the Tour’s rigorous health and safety protocols throughout a tournament week” and that they won’t be subject to the current 14-day quarantine period.
The timing of the move is crucial for players with two of the season’s biggest events scheduled for the next two weeks – the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the PGA Championship.
Both Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell said this week that they likely won’t play the PGA Championship because of the quarantine period.
“Under the current restrictions on traveling to America, I won’t go because you have to quarantine for two weeks going out there and that’s not something I am interested in doing,” Pepperell told The Guardian.
The new policy applies to anyone inside the Tour’s “bubble,” including players, caddies, coaches and physical therapist, but not spouses, significant others or family members who are not in the testing bubble.
The LPGA confirmed to GolfChannel.com that its players also will be covered by the new travel rules.
Westwood is committed to play next week’s World Golf Championship in Memphis, but he told reporters Saturday at the British Masters that he doesn’t intend to travel to the U.S. despite the policy change.
“I know they’ve dropped the two-week quarantine now, but I still don’t feel comfortable and I don’t feel like it is right to jump on a plane for 12 hours,” Westwood said. “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.”
The email also notes that players would still be subject to travel requirements for other countries when they return home.