Dublin: 5°C Friday 21 January 2022

Irish golfers pull out of Joburg Open ahead of second round

There are growing concerns over the new Covid variant in South Africa.

Paul Dunne is among the players who have withdrawn.
Paul Dunne is among the players who have withdrawn.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

FOUR IRISH GOLFERS have decided to withdraw from the Joburg Open due to growing concerns around a new Covid variant in South Africa. 

Ahead of Friday’s second round, Paul Dunne, Niall Kearney, Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell have opted to pull out along with several more from England. 

South Africa has been added to the UK’s red list, as have Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe. Those arriving into the UK after 4am on Sunday morning will have to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine. 

The Joburg Open is the first event of the rebranded DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour.

“I went to bed early last night and was up early this morning and I didn’t really look at my phone,” Dunne, who is travelling back to Dubai, told RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland.

“I’d three holes to finish in my first round and when I came in, I turned my phone on and I had messages from everyone asking me if I was going to go to the airport or stay and play. That’s when I started to look into it.

I think a few people are on the course without kind of a real idea of what’s going on, but some people are finding it hard. I’ve heard people can’t get a flight until Sunday evening.

“The only flights available are through Ethiopia and I think with the stuff in Ethiopia nobody fancies travelling through there either. Bit of a minefield at the minute.”

“I’m going back to Dubai,” he added. “I’m based in Dubai this winter and I’ll be back for Christmas. When I looked up flights on Sky Scanner they had a warning saying entry may be prohibited so it sounds like they are getting ready to follow suit as well.”


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