As players and caddies continue their preparation for the Tour’s restart on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, some caddies in the U.K. — like Billy Foster — have a tough decision to make on whether to go through quarantine or stay home.
Ultimately, the 38-year looper decided to stay at home in Yorkshire, England while his player Matthew Fitzpatrick left Saturday for his rental home in Palm Beach, Florida and began the two weeks of quarantine in prep for the first event.
“The quarantine issue is the big thing for me,” Foster told The Caddie Network. “The thing is, if I come over (to the U.S.) I’ll probably have to stay for a while. So now, I’d probably come over in July and stay until September. With the quarantine two weeks both ways (in U.S. and the U.K.) it makes it difficult to go backwards and forwards.”
If Foster had left Saturday as Fitzpatrick did, it would be more than four months straight on the road for the 54-year-old.
“I’m used to being away from home, that’s not an issue, but the problem is with the quarantine, it makes it impossible to go back and forth (between home and the U.S.).”
He’s not ready to take on the travel restrictions just yet.
“Do you really want to sit on a plane for 10 or 12 hours?” Foster said. “There’s also health insurance issues. There’s a lot of things that are making it difficult. Visa issues, et cetera. It’s difficult to get there.”
Though Foster is sure the health insurance and visa issues will work out for him, it’s the quarantining that’s the real issue.
“You’ve basically got four weeks total you’ve got to have off if you decide to go back home (to the U.K. once in the U.S.),” Foster said, “so it’s as if you try to time it so that you’re there for the big tournaments. It’s difficult for everybody.”
Foster has a son and daughter in their late teens and his wife at home, so he’s not in the same position as Fitzgerald being 25 and with a residence already set in the U.S.
“I’m on the wrong side of 50, I’m not 20-odd anymore, these young guys are all fit and young and I’m dusting down the wheelchair,” Foster cracked.
Fitzpatrick has a total understanding of Foster’s choice to stay in the U.K. and will take Cayce Kerr on the bag in the meantime.
“Matt completely understands how difficult the situation is for me and it wasn’t an issue at all with him,” Foster said. “Just hopefully things settle down over the coming weeks, the Tour restarts with no problems, then I can come over for the summer.”
Foster will wait it out for now.
“I’ll just watch and see how these first few tournaments go, if they’re successful then I’ll just try to get over in July, if I can,” Foster said.
Coming to the U.S. in July would ensure Foster doesn’t miss a major championship with the PGA Championship scheduled for August 3-9.
“That’s providing they go ahead,” Foster cautions. “We’ll see.”
Is there a target date or tournament for Foster’s return in July?
“Not really. It’s going to be a case of seeing how the first couple of tournaments go,” Foster said. “If everything’s good then maybe in one month’s time the quarantine would be lifted and then I could come over pretty quickly after that.”