European Tour player WDs from event citing bubble fatigue

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Life in the “bubble” isn’t for everyone. One European Tour player decided Thursday that he’d had enough.

Jordan Smith withdrew from the Andalucía Masters at Valderrama after playing his first 14 holes at the difficult former Ryder Cup course in 11 over. A day later, he explained on social media that mental fatigue led to his decision.

“If people are wondering why I withdrew from this week’s event, the main fact was it was my 7th week in a row and ‘the bubble’ has gotten the better of me,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “Feeling like being in lockdown again not being allowed out the hotel does get to you after a while and mentally I had enough.”

The European Tour’s COVID-19 protocols include a mandate that players and caddies stay within its “bubble,” which consists of the course and designated hotel. Coincidentally, the 36-hole leader at Valderrama, John Catlin, has been the only player through seven events to violate the bubble rules and was forced to withdraw from last month’s English Championship.

The 27-year-old Smith also apologized to his team and the tournament, adding that it was the first time he’d ever pulled out of an event mid-round.

Fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell, who has played in four events since the restart, responded to Smith’s tweet: “Frankly, if my 7th week in a row inside the prison that is current Tour life, at Valderrama of all places, then I’d be happy to be coming home with more than 4 clubs. Rest up my friend.”

With 12 weeks remaining in the tour’s season, Smith sits 57th in the Race to Dubai. He is also ranked No. 184 in the world rankings.