If there’s a positive to come from Augusta National postponing next month’s Masters, it will be that Graeme McDowell has probably, though bizarrely, qualified.
This will be the scenario should Augusta, as they do seem set to undertake, reschedule the event for later in the year.
McDowell arrived at the now cancelled Players Championship lying 51st on the World Rankings (OWGR) with the Wentworth-based body confirming yesterday (FRI) that the Irish golfer will move back two places to 49th.
The OWGR indicated, as expected, that the Players will be scrapped from attracting Ranking points even though all 144 players will receive $US42,000 for their first-round efforts.
McDowell, like every fellow PGA Tour colleague, made his way to the TPC Sawgrass locker-room to clear out his possessions before jumping in his car for the 2-hour drive south to his Orlando residence.
When and where he’ll tee-up next no-one knows as McDowell said in mirroring the comments of his Tour colleagues.
“There is no playbook here and no set of rules to follow with something like this but since Wednesday night and the Presidential address, it’s just, everything has escalated pretty fast,” he said.
“I’m not really surprised the Tour has cancelled this event and with all the other professional sports really kind of just pulling the ripcord really hard.
“The pressure was really mounting on golf to do the same thing. Even though we’re a very, very different environment from closed-door arenas, it’s just not an argument, though.
“Also, there’s such a bigger picture at stake here, and containment is so important, and we have to be seen to be doing the right — well, we have to do the right thing. It’s not even being seen to do the right thing. We have to do the right thing. It’s a responsibility and there was just no other choice.
“It’s disappointing from the point of view of this tournament where we’re walking in here today, it’s blue skies and perfect weather and this golf course is ready to go, but we have to be responsible and make sure that this thing gets contained, that we can move on with life.”
McDowell has not teed-up at Augusta National since 2016 and he spoke earlier in the week of his excitement, if he qualified, of having his young daughter wearing a famed white ‘boiler suit’ caddy outfit alongside him in the Par-3 contest.
GMac may now get that wish if Augusta National goes ahead and reschedules later in the year and keeps its original March 30th ‘Top-50 in the World’ cut-off point in terms of qualifying.
“It will be good if that happens and the Masters is rescheduled later this year,” he said.
“If they go with their original March 30th deadline then I will be fine, and given there’s no golf now to well after the Masters, then the Rankings won’t change between now and March 30th.
“It’s all unprecedented territory at present and all we can do is wait out this suspension and be ready when it comes.”
McDowell had hurried entering next week’s Valspar Championship to help protect his Masters goal and then was due to join Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry in the final two events in Texas ahead of the Masters.