Gary Player: Damned if you do – damned if you don’t

Right now, world golf is facing a dilemma that no sport has ever encountered before. Looking back through the centuries there has been an almost continuous series of pandemics that have killed millions of people. But this corona-virus is like no other.

As governments around the globe agonise over deciding whether to continue the lockdown for safety’s sake or to ease the self-isolation, stay at home restrictions and encourage people to get back into work and restart their economies.

The European and PGA Tours are in a ‘Damned if you do – and damned if you don’t’ situation where they have had to postpone valuable iconic golf tournaments or cancel them altogether.

With the governmental-required costly procedures making it unrealistically expensive to stage a traditional golf tournament and with little or no revenue coming in from television coverage and sponsorship it seems a daunting proposition.

Also, with the lockdown in place, it makes it almost impossible for the players to be in the right place at the right time to be able to compete.

Air travel is hugely difficult at the moment and many players are reluctant to fly around the world and risk the chance of catching the virus.

At the moment I am enjoying the countryside on the outskirts of Philadelphia with my family. I’m getting plenty of exercise and I recently played a round of golf at the nearby golf club – the first time I’ve played golf for seven weeks. I’ve never had a break from the game for as long as that ever before.

I’m looking forward to The Masters and hoping that by the second week in November will be conducive for tournament golf. With the Bermuda grass and the traditionally cold weather it’s going to be a totally different Augusta than the one we have been used to for so many years.

I understand that there is to be a charity skins game later this month, the TaylorMade Driving Relief, played at Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, in Florida, between Rory McIlroy and Dustin Harding and Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. It will be interesting to see how they manage the event.

It will also be interesting to see how the PGA Championship figures. I understand that they are preparing for what will be the first Major of the year on August 6 at Harding Park Golf Club in San Francisco.

Things are changing on a day-by-day basis, so it’s difficult to make plans in advance when some states in the USA are welcoming golf tournaments, while governors of other states prefer to continue with the lockdown strategy.

Both arguments are valid but where life and death decisions are at stake it’s almost impossible to come to the right conclusion.

I have fought and won many battles of my own and I’m sure we can win this war with the corona-virus but we all need to be well-armed.

We should make every effort to conquer obesity and diabetes, particularly with youngsters, so they can be fit and healthy to withstand the pandemic.

I was recently awarded the Presidential Medal for Freedom, which I regard as the greatest honour I have received in my lifetime.

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