With 'no competition', golfers play waiting game

Paris (AFP) –


From honing their short games in the garden to giving their children dubious haircuts and chatting to footballers, golfers have been finding ways to fill the time without competitive sport.

The world's major golf tours have all been suspended until late May at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Masters and PGA Championship suspended indefinitely and three of the five women's majors rescheduled.

Former Ryder Cup winner Edoardo Molinari is in his native Italy, which has been one of the hardest-hit countries by the COVID-19 outbreak, with the virus causing over 15,000 deaths in the European nation.

"Golf is not a priority. The most important thing right now is to make sure we all behave in a way that can help this situation get under control," Molinari wrote in his blog for the European Tour website.

Top golfers find it easier to get through the lockdown than most people, with many having personal gyms, practice facilities and swimming pools at their homes.

Major champions Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer have joined fundraising efforts to help those suffering from the disease.

Molinari has been doing a daily quiz on Instagram to help give fans something to do and raise money for his local hospitals in Turin.

"The only thing we ask is that in order to be able to participate, you have to make a donation on our gofundme page, which goes to help hospitals in Turin," he said.

On a lighter note, English Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter used his spare time to cut his son's hair "like Ronaldo's".

Unfortunately for his son, the end result, shown in an Instagram video, was a copy of Brazilian star Ronaldo's infamous trim from the 2002 World Cup, not the style worn by five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

He isn't the only golfer keeping busy on social media, with numerous Tour pros taking part in the 'bounce' golf ball keepy-uppy challenge, while others have been answering questions from fans, or doing interviews with other famous sportspeople.

"I love golf, but I think I love the competition more. If there's no competition and there's nothing to look forward to, I don't really see the point in going out and practising," world number one Rory McIlroy told former England international footballer Jamie Redknapp.

The players don't know when the tours will resume, with the potential for a packed schedule later in the year.

"Potentially you're looking at four majors, the Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup in the space of 12 weeks," said McIlroy.

But some professional players are still competing, with several 'mini-tours' continuing behind closed doors in the US, where golf is allowed in most states as a designated activity despite the lockdowns.

LPGA Tour rookie Haley Moore collected $2,500 for winning on the Cactus Tour in Arizona on Sunday.

"I just want to stay competitive and stay sharp with my game," Moore told the Golf Channel after winning the event played under special rules, with players in twosomes, no bunker rakes and one player to a cart.

"It's very safe what they're doing."