Just over 24 hours after Itay’s Edoardo Molinari and Lorenzo Gagli were forced to withdraw from the Oman Open due to concerns one or both men had been exposed to the coronavirus, the European Tour made the unprecedented decision to reinstate both men into the field after the first round of play had already begun.
Citing “exceptional circumstances,” the Tour released a statement announcing that both would be added to the 144-man field and play together as a twosome in the last group off on Thursday.
“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,” Chief Executive of the European Tour Keith Pelley said. “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.”
According to an Associated Press report citing Italian newspaper La Nazione, Gagli told the paper that a European Tour doctor approached him on Wednesday morning and told him to return to his hotel room. His roommate that week, Molinari, was moved to a separate room for isolation.
Euro Tour bumped Oman field from 144 to 146 and reinstated Gagli and Molinari after both tested negative for coronavirus. Creative but effective solution to an unprecedented situation. https://t.co/p4CbA7U6vd
— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) February 27, 2020
“Gagli exhibited flu-like symptoms and was assessed by the tournament’s on-site medical team,” the European Tour’s statement read. “In consultation with the Omani Ministry of Health, and in-line with current World Health Organization guidelines.
“On Thursday morning, the Omani Ministry of Health reported that Gagli’s test results were negative.”
Both Gagli and Molinari played well on Thursday, firing rounds of 3-under par and 2-under par, respectively.
— Edoardo Molinari (@DodoMolinari) February 27, 2020
“Still shocked by what happened in the last 36 hours,” Molinari wrote on social media. “I am absolutely fine and so is my good friend Lorenzo. It was a scary and annoying situation because it is not something that was in our hands and there were no certainties at all.”
“The European Tour, the Oman Ministry of Health, the Oman Golf Federation and all their staff did an unbelievable job and they tried everything they could to help us in this awful situation. Thank God everything is fine. We are healthy and we are back to playing golf, which even this morning seemed impossible!”
Gagli finished his second round inside the top-10 after a 2-under par round took him to 5-under par for the tournament. Molinari shot even par in his second round to sit well inside the cutline.