What you need to know about the European Tour’s Health Strategy, which will govern all tournaments played for the remainder of the 2020 season.
This week’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood marks the full resumption of the 2020 European Tour season and the beginning of the six-week UK Swing, which will be governed by a comprehensive new Health Strategy that aims to deliver a safe environment for everyone involved.
The Health Strategy has been developed by European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Murray and various advisers from across the spectrum of countries in which the Tour plays. The Tour’s medical advisory board includes virologists, public health experts, immunologists, and senior health leaders from FIFA, World Rugby and the ATP.
With events played behind closed doors, the Health Strategy at each tournament includes a programme of symptom checking, temperature measurement, and rapid PCR screening for players, caddies, and all other personnel to help mitigate risk.
In addition to off-site and on-site testing at each event, participants will also operate within national public health guidelines on site, including the practice of social distancing, and following enhanced hygiene directives.
European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Murray, said: “The health of our players, caddies, and staff is our absolute priority.”
Here’s what you need to know about the European Tour’s Health Strategy, which will continue evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.
Inside the Tournament Bubble
The ‘tournament bubble’ is restricted to essential personnel, who will only be permitted on site following negative PCR tests both prior to travel and on arrival to the event. Once inside, there are a number of general rules of guidance to adhere to:
• A face mask must be carried at all times, and the wearing of a facial coverings are mandatory in all indoor areas. They must also be used outdoors where social distancing is not possible.
• Social distancing requires a minimum of 2 metres, which must be adhered to at all times, indoors or outdoors. It is recognised this cannot always be possible between players and caddies while on the course, but they are asked to try as much as possible.
• All players and caddies are required to stay in designated Official Tournament hotels to ensure the required “Tournament Bubble” is created and maintained.
• Additionally, each person will be required to travel, work, relax and dine with one other person only.
Pre-Tournament Testing with LetsGetChecked
As an official European Tour Covid-19 test supplier, LetsGetChecked are providing at-home test kits, to be completed by all personnel in advance of their on-site arrival.
Offering an end-to-end model, LetsGetChecked’s new Sure-track Test is the most complete FDA EUA-authorised Coronavirus at-home testing solution on the market. The at-home Coronavirus (COVID-19) test incorporates a non-invasive nasal swab and PCR lab analysis, offering convenient and secure results in as little as 24 hours. The at-home Coronavirus test is accompanied by LetsGetChecked’s connected platform offering 24/7 telehealth services supported by licensed healthcare professionals and timely guidance on containment and care for those who test positive.
Upon receipt of a negative at-home test result, everyone present at the tournament will move to the on-site testing phase before they are able to enter the tournament “bubble”.
On-Site Testing with Cignpost
All players, caddies, staff and media are required to undergo a PCR test, on arrival at the venue.
This is being carried out by the European Tour’s testing partner Cignpost through its rapid COVID-19 screening processes and services consisting of symptom check, temperature check and a dry swab to collect oral and nasopharyngeal samples, using mobile PCR diagnostic equipment, with results available in approximately two to four hours.
All tournament personnel are then subject to daily screenings upon arrival at the golf course.
Loch Lomond Whiskies provide sanitising stations on every tee
European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Murray emphasised the need for enhanced hygiene regimes, which include frequent hand washing and the use of hand santisers.
Loch Lomond Whiskies, an Official Partner of the UK Swing, is providing hand sanitiser for each of the six events, which will be available on every tee.
New golf course protocols
There are a number of strict protocols that participants have to follow on the golf course, which include rules for shaking hands, scorecards and touching flagsticks.
• No shaking hands or contact of any kind is permitted (e.g. elbow bumps, fist bumps, high fives, etc.).
• Flagsticks, flags, hole cups, and bunker rakes are sanitised every morning, and anyone who has come in to contact with any of these are advised to sanitise their hands immediately afterwards. Additionally, only one caddie (or player) should attend or remove the flagstick on each hole.
• Players will keep their own cards and will be required to submit their own scorecards, verbally cross-checking with their marker.
• No spitting is permitted.
• Players/ Caddies may elect to wear a cloth face cover during the round, but it is not mandatory.
• Sanitiser stations will be located throughout the course and personal sanitisers will be available. It is recommended that all Players/ Caddies sanitise hands after each hole or after touching any course furniture.