The European Tour insists it remains on track with plans to stage the Dubai Duty Free at Mount Juliet in July despite Shane Lowry’s fears that the event could be scuppered by mandatory hotel quarantine.
Lowry revealed following his tie for 21st in the Masters Tournament that his caddie Brian Martin would not be on his bag for this week’s RBC Heritage at Hilton Head as he dashed back to Ireland on Monday to avoid Thursday’s mandatory quarantine deadline and continue his vaccination plans.
With arrivals from countries such as the United States, France, and Italy now required to complete a minimum period of 10 days in a hotel from April 15, Lowry is worried the Irish Open could face a similar problem to last season when travel restrictions forced the European Tour to move the event from Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny to Galgorm Castle Resort in Northern Ireland.
“Well, I think right now, if you look at what the Irish Government are out there doing, I think the Irish Open is going to be in trouble because they’re out there putting France, Germany (sic), and the US on a quarantine for two weeks,” Lowry said. “So I don’t know what’s going to happen there.
“You know, it’s pretty s**t for me, to be honest, because I know things are tough for everybody at the minute, but my coach and my team are going home tomorrow, and I probably won’t see them until The Open.
“It’s not great because I want them over here for the big tournaments, the PGA and the US Open. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. Maybe there will be exemptions or something. I have no idea.”
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Monday that professional and elite athletes could receive an exemption from mandatory hotel quarantine, under plans being worked on by the Departments of Health and Sport.
However it’s understood the plan does not involve a full exemption from quarantine.
“I’m working closely with Minister Martin and Minister Chambers on this I’m aware that we have some big international events coming up soon,” Minister Donnelly said on RTÉ.
The European Tour said in a statement that it was in contact with Government and remained on course to stage the Irish Open at Mount Juliet as planned.
“We are in regular dialogue with the Irish Government in relation to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, as indeed we are with the respective governments in each of the countries we play,” the statement read.
“Preparations remain on course for this year’s tournament and we look forward to returning to Mount Juliet Estate in July.”
Lowry had planned to remain in the US until after the US Open (June 17-20) before flying home for the Irish Open at Mount Juliet (July 1-4) and his defence of The Open at Royal St George’s two weeks later.
“Who knows when I’ll be able to go home to Ireland, if I’ll be able to go home to Ireland,” said Lowry, who strongly hinted he might not make it to Mount Juliet from July 1-4.
“I have no idea what my schedule is going to be leading up to The Open, but it’s definitely going to be mostly over here. I don’t know if I’ll get back to play in Europe at all.”
Lowry is currently based in the US but his caddie, his coach, fitness coach, and manager have all returned to Ireland.
It remains unclear whether or not they will be able to be with him for the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island from May 20-23 or the US Open at Torrey Pines from June 17-20.