Australian golfer Marc Leishman says he’s unlikely to return home until the two-week hotel quarantine protocol is lifted.
Leishman, who defends his US PGA title at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines this week, hasn’t been in Australia for more than a year.
“This is the first year in my career or maybe in my life that I haven’t been able to go to Australia at all for the entire year,” Leishman told reporters on Wednesday.
“I haven’t seen my parents for a year.
“I guess golf has caught the brunt of it in Australia with no tournaments last year – I did miss it, I love going back and playing.
“Hopefully we can do that this year and get things back to normal.
“It’s just hard when you have to go back there and you get put in a hotel room for two weeks with no key.
“But I get it, it (the protocol) is working. I’m not criticising at all. I’m just saying I’m probably not willing to do that.”
The Warrnambool-born Leishman, ranked No.31 in the world, spent last year in America amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know guys who have had it but I know people, some of my friends have had friends that have passed away from it,” he said.
“So obviously there’s a lot of bad stuff that is happening and it’s caused a lot of chaos over here. It’s concerning for everyone.
“I feel very fortunate to still have a job … the PGA Tour has done a great job with testing, it has been smooth, it has been effective. For us to still be travelling around the country with very few cases I think is a credit to them.”
Leishman, who finished tied for fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii earlier this month, enters this week’s Torrey Pines tournament with fond memories of last year’s win there.
But he doesn’t feel added pressure being the defending champion.
“It reminds me a lot of home. The grasses that are at Torrey Pines here, I grew up on at Warrnambool,” he said.
“Everyone still starts at zero on the first tee.
“You’ve got to earn your way to have that chance to win on Sunday and then that’s probably where the real work starts, when you do get a sniff and you’ve got to try and get that trophy.”