American golfer John Catlin, along with his caddie, have been dismissed from the European Tour and kicked out of the English Championship after the pair breached their quarantine bubble to have dinner at a restaurant.
The 29-year-old was disqualified from the competition after he was found to have been in direct violation of rules designed to protect players and staff from the risk of contracting COVID-19.
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Much like the approach of various sports, such as the NBA, the Tour arranged a “biosecure ring,” commonly referred to as a “bubble,” in order to safeguard the competition from contracting the virus with players’ movements restricted to the golf course at Hanbury Manor and their affiliated hotel.
However, Catlin opted to bypass the regulations by leaving the bubble to have a meal in a nearby restaurant with his caddie, and was subsequently banished form the Tour as soon as organizers became aware.
“I apologize to my fellow players and everyone involved with the tournament this week for this error of judgment,” Catlin said following his punishment.
“I understand the European Tour’s decision and accept the sanction.”
The Tour itself also commented on the situation, advising the media that Catlin and his caddie had been struck off the competition.
“The European Tour has withdrawn American John Catlin and his caddie Nathan Mulrooney from this week’s English Championship at Hanbury Manor following a breach of its COVID-19 protocol,” they said in a statement.
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“The duo visited a local restaurant on the evening of Tuesday, August 4 outside the tournament bubble, hence compromising the Tour’s health guidelines, and were withdrawn from the tournament with immediate effect as a result.”
Catlin’s place in the tournament will be taken by South African Wilco Nienaber.