"It seems like us as players, we're jumping through some hurdles and dodging bullets and they're having 32,000 fans a day at the tournament"

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Rickie Fowler: “Definitely Some Concerns” About Open Covid-19 Protocols

Rickie Fowler has given his take on the strict Covid-19 protocols in place for players at this year’s Open Championship

It has been the talk of the PGA Tour, which has run rather smoothly all things considered despite adopting a more relaxed approach than has been proposed for the final major of 2021.

And Fowler, who played with Hideki Matsuyama on Thursday and Friday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic before the Masters champion was withdrawn from the event after testing positive for Covid-19, is the latest player to wade into the conversation.

“I’m vaccinated or whatever you want to call the shots,” he said. “I guess they’re not — they’re vaccines, but unfortunately I know going over there, it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not.

“Yeah, there’s definitely some concerns. Guys have been talking to me or have been talking to other guys, been making calls or sending texts back and forth with some of the people with the Open just with any questions or concerns that we have because there’s multiple things that come up as far as if there happens to be a couple people on the plane that test positive when you get there, you know, what happens with that. 

“Obviously we’re all going into our own small bubbles, can’t be around other players. It seems like us as players, we’re jumping through some hurdles and dodging bullets and they’re having 32,000 fans a day at the tournament, so I don’t know. 

“I can’t really answer questions clearly with all that going on.”

The R&A issued an update informing players that they must stay in official tournament ‘bubble’ hotels or rent private accommodation with a maximum of four people, including themselves and their caddie, and are prohibited from going to bars, restaurants, and grocery stores during tournament week.

Wives, girlfriends and family members can attend if they’re part of the team of four but must either already be in the UK or have completed the 10-day quarantine.

However, the 32-year-old will be hoping to put all that to one side and build on his T5 finish the last time golf’s oldest championship was held at Royal St George’s in 2011.

“I remember it decently well, but it wasn’t like it was just a couple years back,” he added. “It was a while ago.

“I mean, just like every Open Championship, it’s really just keep it moving forward. I remember that was my second Open. I actually made it through St Andrews and then the first round and a half without hitting in a bunker.

“I laid up in a bunker with a 6-iron at Royal St George’s, that was the first bunker I was in in an Open Championship, so we’ll see if we can stay out of those. That’s a big thing in links golf, as you know.

“But I think a lot of the stuff that I was kind of focusing on this week with setup and making sure my grip’s in a good spot so I’m able to get through it and release properly, a lot of that will kind of be some preparation moving forward thinking of shots that I’ll be hitting at the Open as well.”