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Westwood hails efforts to combat coronavirus

Westwood hails efforts to combat coronavirus

Tournament host Lee Westwood was full of praise for Close House Golf Club and event organisers as the European Tour made a full return at the 2020 Betfred British Masters.

Lee Westwood

The last time the majority of Tour members had a card in hand competitively was at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March, with just over four months of action lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No stone has been left unturned by the European Tour in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease, with a Health Strategy 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 Strategy includes a programme of symptom checking, testing, social distancing and enhanced hygiene directives, all within a "Tournament Bubble".

The Tour and Close House have done an amazing job

Players are also required to travel, work, relax and dine with one other person only, and stay within designated hotels during the six events that make up the UK Swing.

That all means Westwood has experienced a week like no other in his previous 556 events on Tour and, while he admits it has felt strange at times, he hailed the efforts to bring back golf in a safe and responsible way.

“The Tour and Close House have done an amazing job,” he said. “When we turned up on Monday I was surprised how thorough everything was.

“I knew we were going to be on lockdown but the testing protocol we have all been through has been a success. I don’t think anybody has tested positive so hopefully they will carry on next week.

He added: "In 28 years of playing on Tour, this is a shock to the system, isn’t it?

“It’s just not the life I’m used to. I go out on the golf course and I am struggling for motivation a little bit. There is a lot more to consider.

“You can see someone like 18, 19, 20 coming out to the events and it wouldn’t be such a shock to the system, but I’m too old in the tooth for that now.

“But I feel like I should play in a few of the UK Swing events to support the European Tour because they have done such an unbelievable job of putting on these tournaments.”

Westwood carded a closing 79 on Saturday but birdies on the 16th and 17th took his tally for the week to 16, with Betfred donating £1,000 to the event's Official Charity the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation for each one of them.

That £16,000 is added to Betfred's £50,000 donation after Jack Senior aced the 14th on Friday and £50,000 from the European Tour, which are both part of the #GolfForGood initiative that looks to support communities where the European Tour is playing on the UK Swing.

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