“This Djokovic situation is a joke” – Golfers defend unvaccinated tennis star

Novak Djokovic is currently dominating the headlines of sports magazines and the news broadcasts, but not in a positive sense. The exceptional Serbian tennis player decided not to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and he doesn’t seem to be willing to change his mind in the future. This creates some difficulties for him trying to enter the hosting countries of the tournaments.

There also exist opponents to the vaccination on the golf tours. Actually, more than one professional golfer supports Djokovic in his decision.

What happend in Australia?

Novak Djokovic was originally granted the special permission to enter the country by the Australian Tennis Federation, due to the vaccination requirements. This was based on Djokovic’s words, when he ensure that he had tested positive back in December, and therefore, less than six months ago. However, the diagnosis only came from the testimony of a single doctor. Accordingly, the immigration authorities revoked Djokovic’s visa, but Djokovic’s lawyer appealed. The case became a major problem and politics even considered it a social and safety matter. The Immigration Minister Alex Hawke intervened, and the official court has concluded: Djokovic must leave the country. A similar situation is said to have happened to two other players, but they left without a fuss.

Golfers take Djokovic’s side

There are also unvaccinated professionals in golf. In November 2021, there were already tournament cancellations in golf due to vaccination status. For instance, some players were not allowed to travel to the Bermuda Championship because they didn¡t meet with the Corona regulations. One of the top golfers, Bryson DeChambeau made his pointn clear last summer. He defended that there was no need to vaccinate because he was athletic. Only a few weeks later, he missed the Olympic Games after testing positive in Covid, and lost 4.5 kg.

Sadly, DeChambeau is not the only golf athlete against the vaccine.

Other golfers also critize the vaccination and the pandemic situation in general, and two of these players are now rushing to Djokovic’s defence. Eddie Pepperell, in fact, tweeted: “I know there are some out there who are still feeling hysterical about Covid, but this Djokovic situation is a joke. He’s no danger to anyone (in the non tennis sense). Let’s just get on with our lives again. It’s pathetic.”

On his Twitter page, there are also some posts with a clear tendency towards the side of the opponents of vaccination. Pepperell is of the opinion that vaccinations do not mitigate the general pandemic situation.
Support for Djokovic also comes from Australian golfers, Scott Hend emphasises on the social network: “It doesn’t matter if you like Novak Djokovic or not. He did nothing illegal.”

European Tour Knowledge

R&A Report Shows Golf Participation In Sweden Has Increased To 600K

New official reports highlight great golf participation growth across Europe. According to the EGA (European Golf Association) reports, there are currently 10.6 Million golfers playing the sport among The R&A’s European Affiliates and in the EGA members’ markets, a healthy increase from the 7.9 million last monitored for 2016.

Since the pandemic, the sport fans had to get used to follow their favorite sports through the screen. Teams and organizers suffered the hard consequences economically speaking because of the decreasing number of affiliates. However, golf has come out stronger, and the reason is simple – The players are outside, it is easy to keep the social distance at all times, and it reconnects you with the world after a global lockdown.

Golf Participation Growth in Sweden

Markets with a greater proportion of registered golfers include Spain and Sweden (10% independent / 90% registered). “We believe that counting independent golfers together with those who are registered as club members gives a more accurate view of the total number of golfers playing on a full-length course each year and reflects how the sport is being consumed from country to country.” – Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A.

Since 2019, Swedish golf participation increased by 54.6k golfers. Reports situate Sweden 3rd in the leaderboard of countries with the highest number of new registered golfers. Nowadays, there are 600,000 golfers in Sweden and 650 courses. Due to the rapid increment of new participants, the course demand has also grown. This is a gap to cover that could potentially pump up the National federations and Organizations to continue to expand the interest in golf among the Swedish population.

Women’s and Junior Participation – The biggest increment

Regarding women’s golf, there’s also a clear increase in Europe. Only in Sweden, the female participation increased by 27%, which translates into 129,949 new golfers. The sport of golf almost benefit from the global Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, there’s no denying that this is an unique opportunity to mediatise women’s golf and make more visible the quality among women golfers.

The Swedish are well-known for inculcating sports education in children from an early age. There’s also a reflection of that on the new reports by the R&A. Sweden leads the top of the list of European countries that has increased the number of junior participation. The junior enrolment has risen by 11%, or in other words, 61,839 new kids practice now the sport of golf. Junior participation is specially important because it represents the quarry of the future national teams.


Golf is booming in Great Britain

Sports Marketing Surveys can reveal that Q3 rounds played across Great Britain reached record levels* between July and September 2020.
Overall, the average number of rounds played across the country was up 59% compared to 2019. The recent surge means that total rounds for the year to date (up to September) were up 7% against 2019. In the context of the complete closure of golf courses in April, and then of ensuing periods of two ball only play, or increased gaps between tee times, this represents an extraordinary performance for the golf industry.Leading the charge has been the South, where the year to date figure was an astonishing 22% up.

Even in Scotland, where hotels and resorts did not reopen until 15th July, strong inroads are being made into the year to date deficit.
The news comes as golf clubs brace themselves for another month of closed doors. There had been hope that golf might be spared to some degree, and that national provisions that allow exercise with one person from another household might mean two ball golf could continue. However, England Golf, who led the arguments to government, announced with “deep regret” on Wednesday 4th November that they had been unable to secure an exemption.
Golf courses have reacted stoically, with many pledging to use the four-week closure to work on facilities in preparation for what, if 2020 trends were to be repeated, could be a bookings bonanza in the final weeks of the year.
SMS director Richard Payne reflected: “We know this news will be bittersweet for golf courses who have put in so much effort throughout this year to react to the changing coronavirus situation and keep golfers safe. Like many, we had hoped that golf would be able to remain open in any national lockdown. Nevertheless, the record results are a credit to the hard work of course owners, secretaries, professionals, and greenkeeping staff, and should give great heart to clubs as they face the next four weeks. With the delayed Masters driving interest in the sport in November, and consumers more aware than ever of the importance of socialising and exercising outdoors, golf should be well poised – regulations allowing – to rebound in December and end this topsy-turvy year on a high.”  

Text by: Sports Marketing Surveys


Golf and Corona in Europe

A look at the current situation regarding Covid-regulations throughout Europe.

The numbers of Covid infections in Europe have been rising drastically for weeks now, which has led to new rules and guidelines. It is not easy to keep track of in which country golf can still be played. Here is a little overview over the respective regulations that currently apply in several European countries. 

In Germany there are currently contact restrictions which only allow golf flights with an maximum amount of 2 people. However, this means that the golf courses will remain open. Decisions are ultimately taken by the regional authorities, which means that stricter regulations can still come in German states with high infection numbers.

In Spain, there is a nationwide nighttime curfew and almost all of Spain’s regions have imposed regional border closures to prevent long-distance travel. Within Spain, however, it is still permitted to travel. Concerning golf, the central government has empowered the individual regions to take further decisions. So it depends on where exactly you are in Spain and what the local authorities decide.

In England there will be a country-wide lockdown coming into effect on Thursday, the 5th of November, which will last until December the 2nd. The Government has confirmed that golf courses and driving ranges will be among the businesses and venues ordered to close when the country begins a month-long shutdown. Ireland and Wales are in a two-week lockdown since the 23rd of October. Golf is also affected by this, as the courses are currently all closed. In Scotland the golf courses are not affected and golf can still be played.

Despite stricter regulations in some regions of Sweden, golf courses may remain open and golf can be played when keeping distance.

While all indoor activities must be stopped in Austria with the new lockdown in November, the golf courses will remain open. 

In France, the situation has been declared by the French Golf Association, who published a notice giving details of new restrictions. These have a direct impact on the golf sector and will result in a temporary closure of French golf clubs throughout the country from Thursday, the 29 of October to the first of December.

In the Netherlands, golf can still be played in accordance with the distance rules. Under certain conditions even tournaments are allowed

The respective guidelines are constantly changing and are appointed according to the current situation of infections. What is currently valid may already be out of date by tomorrow. If you are unsure whether you can currently play in your region, you should check with your golf club in advance.