Two European Tour players, Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari, who had been quarantined on Wednesday over fears they had contracted the coronavirus and forced to withdraw from this week’s Oman Open, were instated to the tournament on Thursday.
Upon arriving at the tournament, Gagli had been exhibiting flu-like symptoms and was assessed by the tournament’s medical staff. In consultation with the Omani Ministry of Health, Gagli was tested for coronavirus and quarantined as a precaution, according to the European Tour.
Gagli was sharing a hotel room with Molinari. While Molinari was showing no signs of illness, he too was quarantined.
When the results of Gagli’s test came back negative on Thursday, the tour decided to reinstate the two players, whose spots had already been filled, into the Oman Open field. To do this, the field was expanded to 146 golfers, with the countryman teeing off in a twosome at 1:30 p.m. local time.
“This is a difficult global situation, one during which we will continue to follow all guidance given to us on preventive measures, and all decisions will continue to be made in the interests of overall public health,” said European Tour chief Keith Pelley in a tour statement. “We will also continue to work closely with our own health experts and local authorities to ensure we have the latest medical and travel advice for all our tournaments, because the well-being of our players, staff and spectators remains the European Tour’s absolute priority.”
Gagli, speaking with the Italian newspaper La Nazione on Wednesday, said that he had been told he would have to remain quarantined for a week, forcing him to miss the upcoming Qatar Masters.
“It’s an inexplicable decision,” Gagli said to La Nazoine. “Only us two have been excluded from the tournament, but I arrived in Muscat last Sunday and over the last few days I've worked out in the gym with dozens of other players. I ate with them and traveled by bus with them.
“If there was a risk of contagion, then they would have to isolate dozens of golfers and cancel the tournament.”
Gagli also claimed that being quarantined would cost him and Molinari “serious economic damage.”
When reached by Golf Digest on Wednesday night, Molinari, who has been critical of tour officials in the past, said: “I am absolutely fine. The tour lost the plot as usual.”
Both players hail from Italy, which is suffering an outbreak of the coronavirus with more than 440 cases confirmed, most of any non-Asian country. Gagli entered the week 407th in the Official World Golf Ranking, while Molinari (348th) is a former U.S. Amateur champ and Ryder Cupper, and brother to 2018 Open champ Francesco Molinari.