American golfer thrown out of European Tour event for breaching Covid protocols

John Catlin and his caddie visited restaurant outside English Championship ‘bubble’

European Tour officials have taken swift action against American John Catlin over his breach of Covid-19 safety protocols ahead of this week's English Championship at Hanbury Manor
European Tour officials have taken swift action against American John Catlin over his breach of Covid-19 safety protocols ahead of this week's English Championship at Hanbury Manor

American John Catlin has effectively been kicked out of this week's English Championship at Hanbury Manor after breaching the European Tour's Covid-19 safety protocol.

Catlin was withdrawn from the event this morning along with his caddie, Nathan Mulrooney, after visiting a local restaurant outside the tournament "bubble" on Tuesday evening.

Since the tour restarted with the Betfred British Masters at Close House a fortnight ago, players, caddies and support staff have been required to follow strict safety protocols.

That has involved staying in designated hotels and only being allowed to leave the "bubble" after missing the cut or at the end of a tournament.

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“I apologise to my fellow players and everyone involved with the tournament this week for this error of judgement," said Catlin, who missed the Betfred British Masters before playing in all four rounds in last week's Hero Open at Forest of Arden near Birmingham.

"I understand the European Tour’s decision and accept the sanction.”

Catlin, a 29-year-old who is in his second season on the circuit, will be replaced in this week's tournament by South African Wilco Nienaber.

Lee Westwood, the tournament host at Close House, heaped praise on the tour's safety plan, describing it is "military-style, almost".

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Richie Ramsay also hailed the safety set up put in place to get the circuit back up and running, saying it was "probably the most impressive thing" he'd witnessed as a European Tour player.

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