Player and cad­die kicked off Tour event for breach­ing Covid rules

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Cor­ri­gan

The Euro­pean Tour had promised to get tough if any of its strict Covid-19 pro­to­cols were breached, and it was true to its word when it kicked Amer­i­can pro John Catlin and his cad­die out of this week’s English Cham­pi­onship at Han­bury Manor.

Catlin and Nathan Mul­rooney vis­ited a lo­cal restau­rant in Hert­ford­shire on Tues­day even­ing out­side the tour­na­ment bub­ble, and when it was dis­cov­ered, the pun­ish­ment was im­me­di­ate. They were with­drawn from the event, the third since the cir­cuit restarted last month with its six-strong “UK Swing”.

“I apol­o­gise to my fel­low play­ers and every­one in­volved with the tour­na­ment this week for this er­ror of judg­ment,” Catlin, the world No 242, said in a state­ment. “I un­der­stand the Euro­pean Tour’s de­ci­sion and ac­cept the sanc­tion.”

In con­trast with the PGA Tour, on which play­ers and cad­dies are free to stay where they please and go out where they please while at a tour­na­ment, the Euro­pean Tour in­sists on every­one in the “bub­ble” – play­ers, cad­dies, sup­port staff and me­dia – stay­ing at a des­ig­nated ho­tel and not leav­ing un­less to travel to and from the course. The rigid­ity of the regime is one of the rea­sons why the Gov­ern­ment al­lowed the Tour dis­pen­sa­tion for play­ers ar­riv­ing from over­seas to be ex­empt from the quar­an­tine re­stric­tions.

It is not for every­one, as An­drew “Beef ” John­ston high­lighted when with­draw­ing af­ter nine holes of the Bri­tish Masters, the Tour’s first event back af­ter a four-month hia­tus, two weeks ago.

“Be­ing here and be­ing con­fined to the ho­tel, con­fined to the course… is ul­ti­mately not what I want at this mo­ment and not how I want to live my life,” John­ston said in New­cas­tle.

Catlin, 29, played in last week’s Hero Open at the For­est of Ar­den.

Of­fi­cials said Catlin and Mul­rooney had “com­pro­mised the Tour’s health guide­lines”.

Catlin’s place in to­day’s first round has been taken by South African Wilco Nien­aber.

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