Justin Thomas dismayed by Hilton Head's lack of coronavirus awareness
"There are people everywhere. The beaches are absolutely packed, and every restaurant, from what I've seen, is crowded"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 21/06/20 7:11pm
Justin Thomas has described Hilton Head Island as "an absolute zoo" as he appeared to accuse local authorities of failing to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Thomas was an early finisher on day three at the RBC Heritage and fired "the worst 66 I've ever shot in my life" to move to nine under for the tournament, but the talk of Harbour Town on Saturday remained the repercussions of Nick Watney becoming the first PGA Tour player to test positive for coronavirus.
Watney was withdrawn from the event after receiving the results of his Covid-19 test, and he will now self-isolate for at least 10 days before he is permitted to compete again, and the PGA Tour announced that 11 tests on people who "may have had close contact" with the American all came back negative.
But Thomas has expressed his dismay that the surrounding area on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina appears to be operating as normal, with busy restaurants and crowded beaches leading the world No 4 to believe that the locals are treating the threat of infection with disdain.
McIlroy: I talked with Watney before positive test
"Nick texted me actually because we had a chat on the putting green before I went out to play"
"No offence to Hilton Head, but they're seeming to not take it very seriously. It's an absolute zoo around here," said Thomas. "There are people everywhere. The beaches are absolutely packed, every restaurant, from what I've seen when I've been driving by, is absolutely crowded.
"So I would say it's still no coincidence that there's got to be a lot of stuff going on around here. Unfortunately, that's not on Nick because I know he's very cautious and has done everything he can, but I would say a lot of people in this area of Hilton Head just aren't."
Despite the risks elsewhere on Hilton Head Island, Thomas insists the safety protocols implemented by the PGA Tour have made him feel perfectly safe while competing.
"We have done such a great job these first two weeks, I feel very safe," he said. "I wouldn't be playing if I didn't. The Tour have done all the protocols they can.
"Unfortunately, you can't control guys going to get something to eat or whatever it might be, if you're staying in a hotel or room service or whatever it might be.
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"What I've done is I stay in a house with a chef each week with a couple of guys and keep it in that small circle. So I feel very, very safe in that regard.
"Outside you can't control what other people have done, and I think that's what happened to Nick. He was very unlucky."