Things are going to be a little different for PGA players across the pond. 

As Covid restrictions continue to loosen in the United States, golfers are becoming accustomed to a certain way of life, a life that more closely resembles the way things were before the pandemic. 

The Open Championship in Britain takes place next month, and golfers participating in the tournament will face much stricter regulations than they have in the past few months. 

According to ESPN, The Open at Royal St. George will “operate under strict government oversight from the UK government.” 

Players will not be allowed to visit restaurants, pubs, or grocery stores, and will not be allowed to share accommodations. Golfers will also be required to undergo covid testing even if they have been fully vaccinated. 

Additionally, there are strict rules for individuals traveling with the players, such as caddies and coaches. 

“The up-to-four persons [regulation] within private rental accommodation must be included within the players’ own support group … For example, multiple players or multiple caddies are not permitted to share private self accommodation,” an email from R&A read. “We recognise this is difficult for many that used to share during the championship but the Government’s strict contact tracing requirements mean that this will not be possible in 2021.”

“No-one outside the accommodation ‘buddy’ group is permitted to visit other self-catering private accommodation. This would be a breach of the Covid-19 protocols and could lead to withdrawal from the championship.”

The rules are far more strict than what players currently face in the United States, and many are not pleased. 

According to Golfweek, one anonymous player said he considered skipping the tournament because of the regulations.

“I’m going to go because it’s the British Open,” the player said. “But I certainly thought about not going. I just can’t believe with the numerous examples of successfully run safely held tournaments and majors here that they can’t figure out a better situation.” 

“If someone on your plane tests positive on the way to the British and is sitting anywhere close to you, you’re out no questions asked, no matter if you’re vaccinated. It’s aggravating that they deem the tournament safe enough for 32,000 fans a day to attend, but won’t let a player’s wife, children travel and watch the tournament, nor will they even let players visit a restaurant without threat of disqualification.”

One of the reasons the players are upset is that the rules for patrons are much less strict than they are for the players. The tournament announced that up to 32,000 fans will be allowed to attend the tournament each day, likely the “largest of any worldwide golf event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” according to ESPN.

“They care more about the revenue of the fans buying beers than they do about the actual people participating in the tournament,” said the anonymous player. “Any fan can go to a grocery store or a restaurant and we can’t. Does that make sense? And I’m vaccinated. How does that make sense?”

Any player traveling from the U.S. to England is required to be tested before leaving the States, and will face a mandatory 10 day quarantine upon arrival, unless a negative test occurs after five days. 

“All accredited players, caddies and player support team members including family members will be subject to strict ‘inner bubble’ restrictions for the duration of their time at the Championship and must not mix with members of the general public in restaurants, supermarkets or other public areas,” the update said. “No one outside the accommodation buddy group is permitted to visit others in self-catering/private accommodation. This would be seen as a breach of the COVID-19 protocols and could lead to withdrawal from the Championship.”

The UK government recently extended its mask and social distancing restrictions until July 19. 

The Open tees off on July 15. 

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