Fox: Sports bubbles way forward
New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox has urged the Government to adopt a more open mind to creating sporting bubbles in this country.
For the past three months, the Kiwi No 2 — who was in a share of eighth after the opening round of the BMW Championship in England — has been playing in a European Tour bubble which has seen him contest tournaments in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Portugal, as well as briefly joining the US PGA Tour bubble at the US Open.
The rules have been strict but essentially have involved social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing masks everywhere except on the course. Of the more than 7000 tests conducted on the European Tour, there has been only one positive — Alexander Levy, and that was due to him leaving the bubble for a week.
Fox says the rest of the world is getting on with it in terms of sport and it’s not just the European Tour bubble that has worked.
“The NBA bubble has worked well, the European Tour bubble has worked well and the PGA Tour bubble hasn’t even reached double- digit positive tests in a country which obviously is going pretty poorly with Covid. It’s proof that if it’s done right, you can be very safe within a bubble.”
Fox has watched from a distance as New Zealand lost the Rugby Championship to Australia and the ASB Tennis Classic was cancelled, and fears there is virtually no chance of the New Zealand Open proceeding in Queenstown this summer.
“It may be do- able for something like rugby when you can go away on a six- week trip and quarantine for two weeks beforehand, but for something like golf, when it’s fly in and fly out, everyone’s in for a week, the current quarantine rules absolutely ruin the prospects for a New Zealand Open.
“I don’t want to speak too soon, as it hasn’t been cancelled yet, but it’s not good signs with what happened with the Rugby Championship and ASB Classic.
“Hopefully something changes but Covid is going to be around for a long time and we have to learn to live with it.
“I don’t want to get political about it at all, but the rest of the world is managing to get on with it, and it would be nice to see us capitalising on the position we’ve got and have live sport with crowds and atmosphere and create a bubble system.”
Fox faces the prospect of little competitive golf for the next six months, partly by choice. His wife is due with the couple’s first child in December, hence why he’s cutting his European Tour season short and is not playing in the season- ending event in Dubai in mid- December.
“It’s a really tough one for me, having a newborn at the start of the year is going to make it more difficult. It’s looking like at the start of the year, I am going to be forced to make a choice of trying to provide for my family by playing events or staying at home and spending time with them.
“With our current quarantine rules I probably won’t be able to play any of the early- season events in the Middle East and Australia because that would mean around three months away from the family.
“I know next year we will be looking to move back to the UK as soon as possible because it lets me do my job and I certainly don’t want to be at a disadvantage to all my peers next year and having to play less events because of quarantine rules.”