Rory McIlroy Calls out European Golfers Who Aren’t Playing PGA Amid Pandemic

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA - JUNE 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the 15th tee during the first round of the RBC Heritage on June 18, 2020 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy criticized some of his colleagues on the European Tour for not partaking in the PGA Tour’s return amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Golf resumed last week with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari are among the international stars who declined to take part.

If I were in their shoes and I was asked to come over to the States and shelter in place or quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that,” McIlroy said, per ESPN’s Bob Harig. “Because if you really care about your career and care about moving forward, you should be here.”

The Guardian‘s Ewan Murray noted in May those competing on the European Tour faced a combined quarantine period of nearly a month if they also wanted to take part in PGA Tour events. Arriving in the United States would require a 14-day quarantine period, and returning to the United Kingdom would mean another 14-day period in self-isolation.

Fleetwood made his intentions clear: “I’m not going to travel to America and stay away for four months, that is simply not a consideration.”

McIlroy downplayed the hardship golfers might face during the U.S.-based self-isolation:

“I get there are different variables and families and stuff involved, but we all have the means to rent a very nice house in a gated community in Florida and it’s not a hardship for two weeks to come over and quarantine. It’s fine. My caddie Harry (Diamond) came over and did it. He stayed in our guest house. The two weeks flew by.”

Some, on the other hand, will cite health concerns as a compelling justification for golfers to stay overseas.

With many states across the United States relaxing pandemic-related restrictions, the number of positive coronavirus cases is beginning to climb again.

The state of Florida is feeling the effect more than others. Florida’s 3,207 reported cases on Thursday was a single-day high

CNN’s Madeline Holcombe cited scientists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, who said Florida had “all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission.”

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