Golfers Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell plead with Boris Johnson to reopen golf courses in England

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Golfers Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell plead with Boris Johnson to reopen golf courses in England after over 100,000 sign Government petition amid mental health concerns

  • Golf courses in England closed after Boris Johnson announced a third lockdown
  • Courses in Wales and Northern Ireland have also shut, but not in Scotland 
  • Golfer Lee Westwood shared a petition calling for the golf courses to reopen
  • The petition has been signed by over 100,000 signatures and will be debated
  • Fellow golfer Graeme McDowell backed Westwood’s message on social media 

Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell have pleaded with the Government to reopen golf courses in England despite a third national lockdown being announced this week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed England into new ‘Tier 5’ restrictions on Monday following a spike in coronavirus cases, meaning all outdoor sport venues – including golf courses – were told to close from Tuesday morning.

While Wales and Northern Ireland have followed England in closing the courses, those in Scotland have remained open during this new lockdown and former world number one Westwood shared a petition to reopen English golf lawns on Twitter.

Former world number one Lee Westwood (above) has called for English golf courses to reopen

Former world number one Lee Westwood (above) has called for English golf courses to reopen

Westwood shared a UK Government petition calling for the courses to available in lockdown

Westwood shared a UK Government petition calling for the courses to available in lockdown

While explaining his reasons for sharing the petition, Westwood tweeted: ‘People’s physical and mental health. That’s the point. Especially in the older age groups. The group they say they’re trying to protect.’

The petition that Westwood shared has been signed by over 100,000 people, meaning Parliament will debate the topic at a future date.

The request accepted that golf shops and clubhouses must remain closed during this new lockdown, but the courses should be allowed to remain open. 

The Prime Minister’s new lockdown, motivated by a new variant in the coronavirus, are in force until March 31 via regulations, though some areas may be moved out in the middle of February. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson shut courses in England but those in Scotland have stayed open

Prime Minister Boris Johnson shut courses in England but those in Scotland have stayed open

Westwood’s message was backed by Northern Irish golfer McDowell, who also cited physical and mental well-being as a reason to reopen golf courses.

Whilst sharing the tweet, McDowell said: ‘I think this is something worth supporting in the UK. With correct safety measures, golf is a sport which can easily function in these tough times. Great for exercise and general well-being.’ 

The Prime Minister’s decision to close golf courses amid this new national lockdown was met with criticism by England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson.

Golfer Graeme McDowell cited physical and mental health as reasons to reopen golf courses

Golfer Graeme McDowell cited physical and mental health as reasons to reopen golf courses

McDowell backed Westwood's message and petition on Twitter despite the Tier 5 restrictions

McDowell backed Westwood’s message and petition on Twitter despite the Tier 5 restrictions

The golf chief accused Mr Johnson of failing to look out for amateur players, whilst also branding golf as part of the solution – rather than the problem caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tomlinson said this week: ‘If you reopened courses to allow the community of 2 million golfers in England to have that as a safe option for exercise … that could be a huge positive in the fight against the physical and mental health issues posed by lockdown.’

Elite sport, which includes golf, is allowed to continue during the new lockdown.

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