Rising LPGA rookie to miss tour's season finale due to vaccination issues

November 13, 2022

Linn Grant has four top-10s in six LPGA starts in 2022, but hasn't played once in the U.S. due to travel restrictions surrounding her COVID-19 vaccination status.

Chung Sung-Jun

Despite competing just six times on the LPGA Tour during her rookie season in 2022, Linn Grant has four top-10 finishes and played well enough to rank 51st on the season-long points list, qualifying her for the next week’s CME Group Tour Championship. The accomplishment is all the more impressive given that the 23-year-old Swede has done all this without participating in a single tournament in the United States.

Mind you, the reason is complicated. Grant, 25th in the Rolex Women’s Rankings, has been unable to come to the U.S. this year because of travel restrictions related to her COVID-19 vaccination status. Those same restrictions also mean Grant, who has not been vaccinated against COVID, won’t be playing in the LPGA’s upcoming season finale, and thus missing out on the opportunity to compete for the first-place prize money payout of $2 million.

Grant’s situation was first reported by Golfweek, and is similar to the circumstances of tennis star Novak Djokovic, who could not compete in the U.S. Open in September. She released a statement about the matter through her agent:

“Under normal circumstances, I would naturally love to partake in the CME. Like everybody else out there it is a clear goal to play the season-ending event, especially this year when CME is putting out the biggest check in women’s golf history. In isolation it is of course fantastic for us players, but more importantly it is a clear statement that shows direction of the true worth of women’s golf. Nevertheless, with travel restrictions to enter the U.S. for unvaccinated still remaining, it is still not an option for me to play LPGA events in the U.S. This is the sole reason I am not playing the CME.

“I understand some people want to know why I am not playing in the U.S. I respect that. The simple reason is that I am not vaccinated. Regarding why, I ask the same respect back. It is something I want to keep internally with my family and team. What I can say is that currently there are only two scenarios making it possible for me to play events in U.S. – either through a positive outcome on a medical relief process or by U.S. easing up on the travel restrictions.”

Grant earned a LPGA Tour card via Q Series last fall, competing in Alabama. She has split her time in 2022 playing in LPGA events overseas (France, Scotland (twice), Ireland, South Korea and Japan) as well as competing regularly on the Ladies European Tour. She has four LET victories in 2022 and will play in the tour’s finale in Spain the last week of November, where she has a chance to earn LET player-of-the-year honors.

Among those four wins was a victory at the Scandinavian Mixed, a tournament run in conjunction with the DP World Tour. Grant’s nine-shot victory in the event allowed her to become the first woman to win a tournament on the men’s circuit in the tour’s history.

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