Lost Balls .. That’s a big concern for all golfers, be they amateurs or major champions.
Of course, amateurs on the whole are used to looking for lost balls without the benefits of spectators helping out but that’s not always the case on the PGA Tour or European Tour.
So, you can understand four-time major winning Brooks Koepka’s slight concern when the PGA Tour returns to competition mid-June in Texas.
The Tour announced late last week it has chosen June 11 for a restart to competition at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth with the first four events, including the RBC Heritage, Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic – to go ahead without spectators.
Therein lies Koepka’s somewhat concern.
While they will all miss the support and noise the crowds bring, there’s more than a few times in any tournament that a player will get the benefit of a fortuitous bounce landing an errant shot into the crowd as well as crowd support in locating a ‘lost’ ball.
Indeed, Koepka clocked a marshal late during his opening round of the 2017 PGA Championship with the marshal requiring medical attention while 15-time Major winning Tiger Woods has benefitted throughout his career with spectators finding stray balls.
“It’s going to be awful without fans,” Koepka said.
It’s not that he doesn’t think fan-less tournaments should happen, he just enjoys playing in front of crowds.
“The energy that the fans bring, that’s what we all live for, we all strive for so it’s going to be so weird.
“Then there’s the situation every once in a while, we just hit some foul balls and the fans kind of help you find it. I mean, guys are going to lose balls because of that.
“Also, you want to be there late on Sundays coming down the stretch and have everyone cheering for you. Imagine this: you sink the putt on the last hole and no one’s clapping. You’re just there by yourself, and you’re like ‘yes!’ Just you, your caddie and just silence.”
It’s uncertain at this stage who will tee-up $US 7.1m Charles Schwab Championship though one thing is certain and that’s Scot Russell Knox will be a starter having confirmed with us last week that the opening three events will be on his return to the Tour, if COVID-19 fears have eased.
The Texas event was the former Irish Open winner’s best finish of the year in securing a share of eighth.