Well, that was unexpected! COVID-19 arrived, and the world stopped. I had initially written about my thoughts on what we should expect from the world of golf and the majors with potential champions. Golf competitions and sports events became very suddenly insignificant as health agencies and Governments battled the spread of a deadly virus. We were told to stay at home, not mingle, and as a nation, we did to avoid a potentially massive and lethal viral spread. The health workers in the NHS and from other administrations became the current champions. They were similarly applauded by the nation as National teams or Olympic stars as they risked their lives to save ours from the deadly virus. Lives have been lost, and for many, it’s still a grim reality. Sports and golf, faded from headlines into reruns on Sky Sports as we sort to connect to our hobbies given the block on participating in outdoor activities. With the world severely wounded, with many people still fighting for life and with an unknown and unpredictable enemy golf has returned. Small TV events raising funds for charity efforts, our own courses open and with The Wisley functioning magnificently thanks to our great teams we are back but under new circumstances.
The PGA Tour cancelled the Players Championship after one round on March 13th, and for the professional tours as of May 27th, the pause remains. What will we see for the rest of the year? I don’t know, we don’t know. The PGA Tour is restarting with a series of events starting on June 8th. This is very much a work in progress, subject to many scenarios which could change rapidly but we will have golf on TV without fans. We have rarely seen golf played behind closed doors and if you watched the match at Seminole and the Tiger/Phil event as I did, then I would argue that to watch live sports fans matter. Three majors are planned for the year, and the FedEx with other significant events are going to be played. I think the players have really got to step up to fill the void of atmosphere and hopefully recognise this and if they are miked up really take the opportunity to educate us, entertain us and show our sport in the best light.
I loved hearing Phil Mickelson chat through his thought process on some of his shots in the match at The Medalist. I would never argue that the competition doesn’t matter because we have to believe we are seeing the players best effort. An educational element, a new insight into the decision-making process, the self chat that a lead player has in his head, would give us all a great insight into performing shots under pressure. Something we could all relate to and absorb into our own games. Banter is really way overrated!
The Masters has been pushed back to a later date, and it’s going to be my favourite to watch. In April the course is in amazing condition, like playing in a perfect garden. In November, the weather is going to play a significant factor, and all those beautiful trees drop their leaves, and it can be cold and wet and should be a really fantastic spectacle. Tiger and Rory still look like they have game and entertainment value, I will be supporting them both. I’m not sure about a Ryder Cup without fans, I’d be sad if my favourite event to watch damaged the product by playing just to play and I can see that getting pushed back to 2021.
Enjoy your golf season, we are lucky to have one. Delight in your great shots and smile at the rest, if a bad swing is your biggest problem you’re in good shape.