One of the top-five finishers in the last major championship that was played — the 2019 Open Championship — will not be participating in the first tournament played in 2020. Lee Westwood will skip the 2020 PG Championship at Harding Park in two weeks because of concerns the Englishman has over how the United States has handled the novel coronavirus.
Westwood has finished in the top 10 in 19 majors in his career, but it will be until at least the U.S. Open in September before the No. 34 golfer in the world has a chance to make that 20.
“Right now I look at the situation and would I want to go?” Westwood told the Guardian. “I am slightly wary of it. If you can do something to prevent added exposure … walking through Heathrow, getting on a plane, then being in San Francisco, being around people who haven’t been taking as serious measures as we have. You’d feel a bit uncomfortable in that situation. What’s more important, your health or playing in a major? I’ve missed majors before.”
He hasn’t missed many of them. Since 2005, Westwood has played in 53 of 60 possible majors and 82 total over the course of his impressive career. The Englishman would have had to quarantine for two weeks upon entering the United States so he would have had to have left earlier this week if he wanted to play in the PGA. Instead, he is playing in this week’s British Masters (which he is hosting), where he finished in last place of those who made the cut.
“I like what the European Tour have done in giving things longer than the PGA Tour,” Westwood said. “When I look across the Atlantic at what’s happening, I’m a little bit worried for them. They don’t seem to have got it under control. We have been a little more cautious over here. Chances are somebody is going to test positive when they are coming from all over the world, but hopefully we can keep it to a minimum.”
The PGA Tour has only had nine players and caddies test positive since it restarted at the beginning of June, not counting any that may have tested positive this week at the 3M Open.