The former World No.1 said that Hilton Head Island wasn't taking the virus very seriously
Thomas: Hilton Head Not Taking Covid-19 Seriously - "It's A Zoo"
The PGA Tour returned its first positive Covid-19 test on Friday at the RBC Heritage after Nick Watney reported that he had symptoms of the virus.
Watney tested positive and was forced to withdraw, and 11 people who he had contact with were all tested and returned negative results.
The five-time PGA Tour winner made his way to Hilton Head Island from the Charles Schwab Challenge on a private jet with Sergio Garcia.
Players have the option of riding on the PGA Tour's charter flight, but they are free to make their own way to events.
They're also free to roam the local areas, which, according to Justin Thomas, were not taking the virus very seriously at the RBC Heritage.
“I feel very safe. I wouldn't be playing if I didn't,” the World No.3 said in reaction to Watney's positive test.
“The Tour has done all the protocols they can. Unfortunately, you can't control guys going to get something to eat or whatever it might be, if you're staying in a hotel or room service or whatever it might be.”
“No offence to Hilton Head, but they're seeming to not take it very seriously.
"It's an absolute zoo around here. There's people everywhere.
“The beaches are absolutely packed. Every restaurant, from what I've seen when I've been driving by, is absolutely crowded.
“Unfortunately, that's not on [Watney] because I know he's very cautious and has done everything he can, but I would say a lot of people in this area of Hilton Head just aren't.”
Luckily for the PGA Tour, its players, staff, stakeholders and fans, there have been no other positive test results since Watney.
Players will be tested again this week prior to the Travelers Championship, and hopefully Watney testing positive for Covid-19 reminds players and caddies that safety must come first.
We already began to see air fist-bumps over the weekend at Harbour Town to reduce contact between players, let's hope we see more of that this week.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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