Gagli, Molinari out of Oman over virus concern


MUSCAT, Oman — Italian golfers Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari have withdrawn from the Oman Open on the European Tour amid reports they are being isolated to determine if they have the virus spreading in Europe.

Gagli tells Italian newspaper La Nazione that a European Tour doctor told him at breakfast Wednesday to return to his room. Molinari, his roommate for the week in Oman, was moved to another room.

Gagli said he was given a test and told the result would be available in two days, but that he would have to remain in the room until next Wednesday, meaning he also would have to withdraw from the Qatar Masters the following week.

“It’s an inexplicable decision,” Gagli said. “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.”

In an email to The Associated Press, a European Tour spokesman said only that Gagli and Molinari have withdrawn from the Oman Open on “medical grounds.” He said he could not say anything further because of patient confidentiality.

Gagli, a 34-year-old from Florence, is No. 407 in the world and his only victory is the Kenya Open in 2018 when it was part of the Challenge Tour. Last year, he was part of a four-man playoff in the European Masters in Switzerland that included Rory McIlroy and was won by Sebastian Soderberg.

Molinari is a former U.S. Amateur champion who played in the 2010 Ryder Cup along with his brother, former British Open champion Francesco Molinari.

Gagli says he and Molinari have suffered “serious economic damage.”

“I feel fine,” he told La Nazione. “I just have a cold.”

Gagli said the European Tour sent an email last week requesting a vaccine for yellow fever for those planning to play in the Hero Indian Open on March 19-22 in New Delhi. He says he couldn’t get the vaccine before leaving Italy and was checked out by a European Tour doctor on Tuesday.

“I told her that I had had a fever until last Friday and she told me to wait two more days before getting the vaccine,” Gagli told the newspaper. “I went to train like normal and then this morning I was told of the decision to put me in isolation.”

Gagli says he was told the decision to stay isolated came from the Oman health ministry.

Italy has reported 447 cases of the coronavirus, the most of any country outside Asia. Twelve people infected with the virus have died in Italy since Friday, all of them elderly, having other health conditions or both, civil protection chief Angelo Borelli said.

The Italian government has defended its handling of the public health emergency while acknowledging the inability to pinpoint the origins of the two clusters in the northern Lombardy and Veneto regions.

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