Revised schedule brings hope, and what’s so wrong with that?

John Craven
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Revised schedule brings hope, and what’s so wrong with that?

A general view of the 13th hole from the fairway in the fall at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Augusta National/Getty Images)

It was just another manic Monday. Did I wish it was Sunday? Because that was my fun day until golf was prohibited as an activity and so, who cares about the days of the week anymore?

Well, it just so happened to be a Monday that a freight train of golf news smashed through our screens. First it was word from on high at R&A HQ that the Open Championship was cancelled. It was inevitable, of course, given the logistical nightmare, amongst all the other nightmares, presented by COVID-19 but then, still a part of you thinks, ‘July… sure that’s miles away. It’s so peaceful outside. I can taste spring in the air. Surely this thing can’t steal our summer too?’

The news was met with a collective groan that swept through Twitter circles like the sport had just lipped out an 18-inch putt, but as we were shaking our fists with fury, lamenting the latest fallen festivity from the calendar, another notification lit up our screens.

Those blasted updates. To date each one has arrived exclusively with bad news. Postponements, cancellations, course closures. Who knew on Masters week 2020 we’d be reading golf’s obituaries?

I felt like I was starring in Netflix’s Don’t F**k with Cats as I clicked on the notification fearing the worst; another piece of candy leading golf fans to their doom. And then life threw me a bone.

The headline read something about a revised schedule. All I could see was hope.

After weeks of speculating if and when we’d see a ball struck again this year, the blazers chewing the fat atop golf’s ivory tower took my hand and whispered gently, ‘don’t worry John, it’s going to be OK.’

A PGA Championship in August. A US Open in September followed immediately by a Ryder Cup, plus a Masters in November; three Majors and the greatest team event in the sport forming a blockbuster few weeks. The head honchos had come good, the forbidden fruit laid out within arm’s reach. Have a nibble. You’ll like it.

‘But the leaves are a different colour around Augusta in November.’

Arguably the most miserable month of the year in Ireland when the golf season ends and winter begins and still we had a few turning their noses up at the thoughts of a November Masters because the azaleas won’t be around to see it.

Others, presumably working in government or high up in the HSE, refused to entertain the idea of a revised run of events entirely, dismissing a 2020 schedule as nothing more than a pipe dream; a dangling carrot set permanently out of reach.

Mercifully there were those more pragmatic, discussing permutations more in hope than expectation, wondering if the delivery of such news was premature. And who knows, maybe this light at the end of the tunnel is only an apparition, but it’s a far sight better than the endless gloom relentlessly wafting over our heads.

I’ve been witness to Mam and Dad cocooning at home for the last week or two. In the red corner you have Mam who could name the 76,000 odd people who have died since this pandemic took hold and fears there’s no end in sight. Meanwhile you have Dad in the blue corner, out doing laps of the back garden to earn his few cans of Guinness at night. He can see it all being back to normal next week.

In reality, neither of them has a clue what happens next but I know whose corner I’d rather be standing in for this fight.

Point is, the Tour threw us a bone. It might be mangy and decaying, unearthed from a foot beneath your lawn, but it’s a bone, and we’re starving. Wash it off, suck the marrow out of it. Make a broth. For the love of all that’s good in the world, take what you’re given.

I feel for those resigned to the alternative.

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