Mel Reid's focus is on the Olympics
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Melissa Reid had produced a patriotic variation on a golfing theme – by skipping a major to give herself the best possible chance of competing at the Olympics.
While the likes of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall emulated Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton by declining the chance to represent Team GB in Tokyo – citing packed schedules and concerns over Covid19 travelling restrictions – their countrywomen Reid has taken the opposite approach.
The world No 38 withdrew from the Evian Championship – that starts on Thursday – after it was announced that anyone entering the UK from France would have to self-isolate for 10 days, even if they are fully vaccinated, amid concerns over cases of the Beta variant.
The rule change – which came into effect on Monday – would have impacted Reid’s travel to Japan for the female tournament, beginning on August 4, with Reid instead skipping the major to limit any risk of the restrictions preventing her from representing Team GB.
"Incredibly disappointed to withdraw from The Evian Championship this year due to the recently implemented travel rules that prevent re-entry into the UK from France in time for the team’s Olympic departure,” Reid said.
"I’ve worked relentlessly with my team and the LPGA Tour to find a way to compete in both but unfortunately at this point, there are no assurances on firm solutions and the risk of missing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete as an Olympian is simply too high.”
With England looking for its first major since 2018, it is a shame as Reid was due to be the second-ranked Briton in the French major. At world No 35, Hull is the top-ranked and is in good form following her third in the Aramco Series opener two weeks ago.
Reid is not the only high-profile absentee from the £3m event. Six of the top-20 players chose against making the trip, including No 6 Danielle Kang, No 8 Yuka Saso, No 9 Nasa Hataoka and No 11 Lexi Thompson.
“Each to their own when it comes to a schedule,” said Nelly Korda, the world No 1. “I know a couple of top girls are missing this week just because it was a lot of travel, a lot of big events coming up. At the end of the day I think they’re just thinking about how their bodies are going to be and not tiring themselves out. But I would never miss a major.”
Jacques Bungert, the tournament director, maintains that the prestige of the season’s fourth major has not been diminished. “We have a fantastic field honestly,” Bungert told Golfweek. “And we feel lucky to have that type of a field due to the conditions, the restrictions for travelling, the situation of the Delta at the moment in the UK, for instance, and the situation with the Olympic Games obviously.”
Korda must be classed as the favourite following her major breakthrough at last month’s US PGA."I read last week that now I am world No.1 everyone is gunning for me but I just want to stay the same and try and do my very best," Korda, 22, said.
"It’s very cool to be world No.1 and it is another goal ticked off. I am very proud of my success this year, but I want more. It is so nice to be back at Evian after last year’s postponement. The views alone make it a very special place.”