Golf Update: British Open to Employ Strict COVID-19 Protocols
Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Golf’s fourth and final major tournament of the year is the British Open. It will implement stricter protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in the United Kingdom. Updated guidelines for the tournament state that the UK government will monitor the proceedings of The Open at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England. Players will comply with measures such as undergoing COVID-19 testing. This is regardless of vaccination status, no sharing of accommodations, and no visits to restaurants, pubs, or grocery stores.
This is a stark opposite from the PGA Tour in the United States as they permit most of these measures. However, organizers will be allowing spectators of up to 32,000 to witness the action live at Royal St. George’s daily. This is one the largest of any worldwide golf event since the start of COVID-19. The strict rules would mean players who previously secured housing accommodations for the Open would be scrapped in favor of hotels provided by the R&A. They can still book their own private residences but they are allowing only four people to stay.
Other Regulations in the British Open
Players are to bring one caddie plus two support staff. This could be a coach, manager, medical support, or translator. They can also opt to allow one family member to attend. However, the individual must be in the UK already. That person will complete any quarantine requirements and should stay in the same hotel as the player. The golfers are likewise subject to removal from the tournament. This will happen if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
A loss of one player due to the virus will bring lesser options for this golf sportsbook who seek to place their bets for the best parbuster in the event. The European Tour has implemented similar restrictions since re-starting the tour in July last year. The PGA Tour has lifted the virus protocols gradually. In April, it announced that players would no longer need to undergo weekly virus testing if they are vaccinated. The UK government implements an extended mask and distancing restrictions until July 19. This is due to fears of the Delta variant of COVID-19 that originated in India.
Reactions Over the Restrictions
A golfing instructor, who had a chance to work with former world number one and multi-titled Rory McIlroy, said that the restrictions do not make sense, especially that the organizers will allow 32,000 spectators each day. However, he accepts the ruling. He points out that it is the wisest option in the current scenario for golfers amid the extra expenditures in accommodation.
The restrictions placed by British Open organizers are expected to give issues to players who are used to bringing in lots of supporters to the tournament. However, this is for the benefit of players who must be healthy and COVID-19 free when they tee off on July 15. The best golf betting odds cover the stroke-by-stroke account of the British Open from July 15 to July 18 at the Royal St George’s course.