While many golfers try to flee South Africa as quickly as possible, the Dutch Darius van Driel, Daan Huizing and Lars van Meijel have decided to stay at least another week.
“It’s chaos. We don’t know what to expect when we go back to the Netherlands, so that’s why we’re staying,” says Van Driel. “Everything goes on here as if nothing is wrong, that’s what makes all that panic so strange.”
We are happy in a bubble
The news that a new, probably more contagious variant of the corona virus has been identified in the south of Africa, caused a chaotic end to the Joburg Open. Quite a few golfers packed all their gear on Friday and took the first plane back home.
“It was like a chain reaction. First came the message that a new virus variant had surfaced. When many countries decided to close their airspace, everyone panicked. A lot of guys wanted to leave right away.”
The tournament was shortened by one day, but the third and final round could not be played on Saturday due to bad weather. The European Tour arranged a charter flight to Dubai for the remaining golfers. “I had signed up for that first,” says 32-year-old Van Driel. ,,But from Dubai you should have figured it out yourself. And the price was so high that I might as well have flown directly to Amsterdam. But yes, that flight was already gone. I’ve looked at other flights, but there are almost none or you have to pay ridiculous amounts. That’s why I thought: I might as well stay here.”
Huizing and Van Meijel decided to do the same. “Fortunately, we are in a ‘bubble’ and do not have much contact with others,” said Van Meijel. “You don’t notice any panic here.” Van Driel agrees. “There was a children’s party in the hotel where we are staying on Friday. And now there’s a wedding party going on downstairs, we can feel the bass through the floor. The rest of the world is in a panic, but in South Africa it seems like nothing is wrong.”
The trio will participate in the South African Open in Sun City next week and will then try to return to their own country. “I became a golfer because I really enjoy the game,” said Van Driel. ,,When I go home, I can train alone. Then I prefer to play a tournament, that makes me better. The weather is also nice here. I have rebooked my ticket and am now going back a week earlier than planned. Provided KLM continues to fly. If not, I hope the government will come and pick us up. Otherwise we will just celebrate Christmas in South Africa.”
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