We all have stories of nightmare journeys with flights. However, I doubt they are as bad as DP World Tour player, Andrew Wilson, and his caddie, Connor Winstanley, who endured a brutal trip back from Johannesburg over the weekend.
For a bit of context, a new Covid variant was discovered in South Africa (opens in new tab), with subsequent travel restrictions being put into place by the UK, as well as countries like Germany and Italy. This meant that players from the UK would have to return before 4am on Sunday morning, otherwise they would be made to quarantine in a hotel at their own cost.
Understandably, a number of players pulled out on Friday morning so they could return before the deadline. Among those players was Andrew Wilson, a former EuroPro Tour winner.
Waking up at 4.30am to the news that South Africa was going onto a travel red list, the duo of Wilson and Winstanley headed to the golf course to announce their withdrawal from the event.
What happened next can only be described as traumatic! Check out a thread of Winstanley's journey below.
After driving to a Covid testing facility at 6.20am, the duo booked out of their hotel and headed to the airport, eventually arriving at 8.30am.
Only half an hour later though, the pair would be turned away from a flight, with a search for other ways out of Johannesburg leading to, as Winstanley put it, a 'head off.' They were eventually saved though, and I imagine they owe 'Alex @ Rocketyard Sports' a beer or two, as he managed to 'pluck them a flight from nowhere.'
Arriving in Nairobi at 5.45pm, the duo were then treated to a seven-hour stop over before travelling to Doha, Qatar, arriving at 6.45am, a full 24 hours after their announcement to withdraw from the tournament.
Another tiresome wait was then endured, with nine agonising hours passing before they got on the flight from Doha to London, arriving on Saturday night at 8pm, a full 39 hours after leaving South Africa.
Although the pair endured a torturous journey, they did arrive before the 4am deadline, with Winstanley understandably gutted to miss out on three tournament weeks in South Africa. However, the caddie did feel fortunate, revealing that some friends are still stuck in the country and are now having to look at quarantine options to get home.
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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