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Rory McIlroy says other Europeans should be at RBC Heritage despite COVID-19

Rory McIlroy said other European Tour players should have quarantined for two weeks and joined the PGA Tour field the past two weeks when the season resumed from a coronavirus suspension. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI
Rory McIlroy said other European Tour players should have quarantined for two weeks and joined the PGA Tour field the past two weeks when the season resumed from a coronavirus suspension. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI | License Photo

June 19 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Rory McIlroy said other European Tour players who are on the PGA Tour should be at this week's RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., despite hassles with travel and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

McIlroy made the comments Thursday during the first round of the tournament. Many European Tour players have chosen not to compete but have been critical of the Official World Golf Rankings being unfrozen for the PGA Tour field while their tour remains suspended until July.

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"If I were in their shoes and I was asked to come over to the United States and shelter in place or quarantine for two weeks before these tournaments, I would have done that," McIlroy said.

"Because if you really care about your career and care about moving forward, you should be here."

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The RBC Heritage is the second tournament of the PGA Tour's resumed season. Golfers returned for the restart at last week's Charles Schwab Challenge for the first time since the season was suspended in March. No fans are allowed to attend PGA Tour tournaments until at least mid-July.

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"I get there are different variables and families and stuff involved, but we all have the means to rent a very nice house in a gated community in Florida, and it's not a hardship for two weeks to come over and quarantine," McIlroy said.

"It's fine. My caddie Harry [Diamond] came over and did it. He stayed in our guesthouse. The two weeks flew by.''

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McIlroy has a home in Florida and stayed in the U.S. during the shutdown. Some European Tour players chose to compete in the RBC Heritage and had to quarantine for two weeks before the Charles Schwab Challenge.

No. 8 Adam Scott (Australia), No. 11 Tommy Fleetwood (England), No. 28 Francesco Molinari (Italy) and No. 33 Lee Westwood (England) are not in the RBC Heritage Field, which includes 54 international players.

World No. 2 Jon Rahm (Spain) was tied for 58th after he shot a 71 in the first round and was tied for 60th through eight holes on Friday in Hilton Head. England's Ian Poulter and American Mark Hubbard shared the first-round lead after they each carded 7-under 64s at Harbour Town Golf Links.

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