Just when you thought the COVID-19 pandemic was nearing its end, it has come back to the surface. This time, it has affected the most COVID-friendly sport. All-Pro Golfer, Bubba Watson, was forced to exit the Open Championship due to close contact with another individual.
Bubba Watson Open Championship COVID Issues
Despite being vaccinated and testing negative, he is unable to participate in the tournament. Something that is not only disappointing to him, but all golf fans nationwide. Bubba had this to say about the incident:
“I am disappointed to announce I will not compete at The Open Championship next week due to having direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. While I am vaccinated and have passed the required pre-travel Covid test, not enough time has passed for me to comfortably join the charter flight and risk exposure to the other players and personnel on board.
I appreciate the R&A’s guidance and help navigating UK policy for such situations. Like many of you, I look forward to watching The Open Championship on TV. Since I will be watching from the comfort of my couch I would not mind seeing the field have to deal with a little rain and strong winds! Best of luck to all of the players. I look forward to returning to the Open Championship next year” (Watson).
He later went on to say how the COVID restrictions are different in the UK compared to the US as close contact individuals are not permitted to enter a plane.
The health and safety of everyone in attendance in the tournament is the utmost priority. After all, the virus is still very much still around and can mutate even vaccinated individuals.
With that being said, it is unfortunate that COVID is still managing to directly affect the outcome of sporting events. Sports is all about competition and at the end of the day, that is why it is entertaining. As a fan, you want to see the best of the best compete against one another.
Bubba has proven to be an exceptional golfer and his absence will truly be felt.
To make matters worse, several others will be missing The Open Championship, as well. Former US Champion, David Duval withdrew from the tournament, as did Hideki Matsuyama who became the first Japanese participant to win a major at Agusta not too long ago.
Duval’s direct reason for withdrawing is unclear but Matsuyama did in fact test positive for COVID-19.
The one bright spot is that those who are replacing Watson, Duval, and Matsuyama will have an opportunity to showcase their talents on national television. It will be interesting to see how they fare. With that being said, the tournament definitely lost some attraction due to these absences.
One would think that Golf would surely be the last sport affected by COVID-19 due to the fact that it is an outdoor game with lots of social distancing. The fact of the matter however is that it has altered the landscape of the game.