A New Silence in Golf
Welcome to sports. Illustrated's corona virus and sports. This is mismanaging. I today Gulf. We'll be talking to SL host and Gulf writer Ryan Celta as we discussed how the spread of covert nineteen led to the spearmint of the sport's biggest events and the impact. It's had on golf's biggest stars and passionate followers. The Corona virus has made large public gatherings in contained spaces a non option rendering most sports leaks inoperable but when you're sport is played alone on acres and acres of outdoor land is the impact Felton. Same Way Gulf was one of the last American sports to shut down due to the condemning. Couldn't also be one of the first to return. When the virus subsites joining us now is SL host and Gulf Right Orion Celta Ryan. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for having me Luiz. Good to be with you good to be with you to. Let's get straight into it Ryan. Let's start with some context for the casual fan. What was happening in the Gulf world when the Corona Virus started shutting down sports leagues around the country a lot was going on in the Gulf War the PGA tour was in the middle of its biggest event of the year. We know about the four majors right the masters the PJ championship British Open and the US Open but for the PGA tour itself. Their biggest event is the players championship. It's at their home headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida And that was going on the week. The Kerala virus hit Lot of decisions needed to be made. They decided to play the first round on that Thursday at Teepee Sawgrass With fans in attendance. If you remember Louise Professional Golf was really at one point the only sport that was still going as all the league's cancel the NBA Major League Baseball. Nhl Soccer across the World Golf was on the course with fans thousands of fans in attendance so they kept playing that Thursday and then the pressure was really mounting for them to make a decision on what to do they had originally said they play the rest of the weekend with no fans in attendance. And then eventually commissioner of Jay. Monahan decided that we can't be the only ones out here we got a play this a little more cautious and they cancel the Players Championship Not only that they cancel the next three events after the Players Championship. And then of course. The snowball effect happen which led to the postponement of the masters. So there was a lot going on and Louis if you know the golf calendar at all this time of year is all a build up a buildup to Augusta national and the masters and we were getting to peak build up with the players championship less than a month from the masters. Of course. Now everything's been put on hold now Ryan obviously Gulf just like tennis and other sports focusing so much on the individual specially the individuals star in a Tiger Woods Phil Mickelson Brooks Cup cut like how does this affect those stars. Yeah I think they've been affected in many different ways of the weasel of these guys were Structuring their schedule to build up to golf's first major the year like we said so This puts a pause on everything for these guys. Someone like Tiger Woods this other guys who are injured as well but you remember tigers and played since mid-february so I would imagine. Tiger is using this time to get healthy on. His back has been acting up he hasn't been able to play So he's GonNa use this time to get healthy gets a practice in and hopefully be ready to go when gov gets back on the on the course Other guys like you said it's an individual sport other getting plenty of practice in most of the warmer climates in Florida Texas Arizona California so they can go and practice On the ranger on the golf course I spoke with world number two ranked player Jon Rahm recently. Who LIVES IN SCOTTSDALE IN ARIZONA? And he said he plans on play a bunch. He has his own golf cart so he doesn't have to direct with anyone he can go to the course practice on the range go out on the golf course. As long as no one's in his car touching his car he should be fine. It's an outdoor sport and there's a lot of land out there. I was out on the golf course on Friday Luiz before they shut everything down in New Jersey and it was fine. It was different. Your kept away from everyone. You know you're talking about hundreds of acres of land that you can kind of get some exercise be outdoors. Get Out of the House. Which is a big thing. I think that's what a lot of these golfers are doing. Some of them. I talked to Billy Horseshoe. Who's a veteran tour pro? You know. He's adjusting because he's got little kids at home? He's not used to being home during the day right. He's out either at a tournament. He travels thirty five weeks a year to tournaments or he's practicing during the day so right now he's trying to pitch in and help out with the young kids who summer schooling at home summer. Just real little and you've got to take care of them so he's trying to pitch in with his wife so that's a whole new world that he said he still adjusted to so. I think it's individuals for these guys are dealing with it really on an individual basis. Nero. Let's focus a little bit on a player. You mentioned earlier Jon Rahm because actually brings you know other issues into it how players especially international players dealing with this and how their families are dealing with this and the restrictions depending on where they are. What more did you get from? His story that relates to the Gulf War. Yeah it's a little different for Rahm Being a PGA tour player lives in Arizona though He's from Spain and the bulk of his family. I really I mean ninety. Nine percent of his family is in Spain. Most of them are in their town. He grew up in Bilbao Spain. Which is on the north coast of the country and when I spoke with him. This was Late last week Spain was in full locked out prior to the US going into any kind of shutdown state by state Spain was in full lockdown He said he was talking to his parents and his family quite a bit just to Kinda lift their spirits. He knew they had nothing to do. in Kinda just you know. Make them smile a little bit. He talked to his mom who said was was in good spirits. She had witnessed that things. Were getting tired. There was. She witnessed a family outside who had been walking home from the grocery store and they were confronted by police officers escorted back to their home immediately because they weren't supposed to be outside of the home so he also talked about the city of Madrid which has been the epicenter in the country of Spain for the corona virus pandemic and he has a great aunt. Susan a nursing home in Madrid. Who is stricken with a LS? She lost Use of many of her Her bodily functions. He said she's in this nursing home where someone has tested positive for the virus. She's there she can't even control opening and closing her mouth so he was very very frightened for her Let's get families scared for the family of this that they're safe right now but but the outbreak was Rapidly spreading across the country. So him being eight thousand miles away made it even harder. I think we can all relate Something going on with our family miles and miles away. You really can do nothing about Rama's stuck in Arizona. He can't travel to go. See Them. It can only pretty much on the phone hop on facetime. He kind of check in to make sure they're doing okay going back to scheduling and tournaments and competitions. Obviously the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed for twenty twenty one. How does that affect the Gulf world? I mean aside from Stars. Obviously there are many players. Were not necessarily as recognizable as your tiger woods but they still depend on tournaments like this to expose themselves an and improve. How does how does the suspension postponement of the Olympics affect the golf world? Golf is part of the Olympics. Now was two thousand sixteen at rejoined the Olympics in Brazil And it was drawn great interest a lot of players especially Americans had made it a priority to try try to qualify for the Summer Games in Tokyo the way things work The qualification process is based on world. Rankings on the men's and women's side The top fifteen automatically qualify for the Olympics about. Maximum you can only have four players from one country so there were for Americans in that top fifteen that was just a Thomas Brooks kept Patrick can't lay Patrick Reed with a four players. Dustin Johnson who was ranked in that group had said publicly. He was not going to go to the Olympics. He was going to skip it. So those four were in as of mid March And now that qualification process which was supposed to run through the end of June is put on hold what that means going forward or we're going to have to see right assuming we're going to have the Olympics in the summer of twenty twenty one. What will they do with the qualify? Will they run it through the end of this year? Will they run it through part of next year It should be interesting. We mentioned Tiger Woods. And how he's handling this. Getting healthy tiger was on the outside looking in for those rankings. Right now. He's eleventh in the world in the seventh ranked American so he had not qualified as of now for the Olympics. So if they reopened the qualification process this could be good for tiger. Who said he hasn't played in two months he could come back healthy get maybe six more months of qualifying time and jump into that top. Four of Americans has said he wants to play in the Olympics. He's never played in the Olympics. He's a big team sports guy. You know he's friends with a lot of athletes in the NBA and NFL and other sports. He loves sports in general so he's made that a priority to try to qualify for the American Olympic team. So at should be very interesting to see how they handle the process if tiger can play himself in to the Olympics with that extra time so you mentioned obviously the Masters Pga Championship obviously spawned the US Open. Though is still on at the moment for June dates. What's the latest on the effort to reschedule? Gulf's biggest events and do you think the US Open specifically should still be on the schedule yet the US Open has the luxury their third on the list of four majors. The masters was first early April. They had to make a decision. They postponed it. Which is Great? The rumors are that the masters could be in October. the PGA Championship next in. May the time had come for them to make a decision. Biggest problem with the PGA is in San Francisco which has had a tremendous outbreak of the virus so they had to address that very quickly. That's been postponed That could fill the spot And the schedule. That's now open because the Olympics will wait and see on that next up as you mentioned is the US Open which is in New York At winged foot. Now the thing with the US Open. I think the US DA which runs the US. Open is doing the right thing by waiting. I don't think they have the rush that decision they can. They have the luxury of waiting and seeing the health things out. The big problem is Moronic New York. You live in New York Louis C. You know the area. Americ- is less than five miles from new Rochelle which has had a massive outbreak in the corona virus. They had that one mile quarantine and locked down the city one of the first cities or towns to do that so that is very close to where wing foot is so. That's going to be happy to have to be taken into consideration when deciding if they're going to have the US Open At that location and as scheduled which is three months from now I think the wait and see approach is like the entire sports rules right. We don't know how we're GONNA come out of this The US Open you get close to two hundred thousand people in and out of the gates over four or five day stretch. So there's a lot to be considered. The masters is the big thing though. I think hopefully that the golf world on the sports world will get to see the masters in Augusta. Come the fall that that's the rumors and Some of the theories floating around right now golf circles. Let's end it on a on a personal note. I mean obviously when we talk about these situations with specific sports we focus so much on the profession about people. Forget that Gulf especially such a community based sports especially amateur level youth level. I know you personally are so attached to it. Not just from a professional standpoint Your children play it. How do you feel now at the moment? That Gulf is missing. What do you miss most about Gulf right now? Are you optimistic? That at some point you'll be able to come back and and celebrate this game. Yeah I'm optimistic. I try to you. Try to look at this and stay positive throughout this tough time. Louise of the game of golf personally is give my family something to bond together with a of As you mentioned my two boys play competitively tournaments that if we're not playing together I'm usually caddying for them practicing with them. And if we're not doing that Odyssey were playing golf with. My parents are in their sixties. Who Live close by so the course that we play at Whether do it together. My boys go out with my grandparents. My wife will come out so it's really a family thing for us to not have that right now is is hard you know like we talked about the Masters. This time of year is the build up. It's the excitement. Spring is coming. You know you get that. I sixty five degree day in our house. What we do is race out. Go to the golf course and we haven't been able to do that. I did that on Friday with my youngest son Who's ten years old? He finished his schooling and we race that it was warm on Friday. We didn't know what was coming in New Jersey and we got one round of golfing. I didn't expect it to be our last round for the foreseeable future but I'm so glad we did. We had a great day we outdoors. We bonded we had fun together and is something that we're used to doing that. Gave us a little bit of a sense of normalcy? I think what it will do for us when we're eventually able to go back out together as a family. I think things will get back to normal for us. And then that's what I'm hoping. I'm hopeful Lewis. I mean gotta stay positive right now. What does that's the only choice you've got right. That's a good ending message. Sports illustrated video host percenter and golf writer. Ryan Celta Ryan. Thanks very much for joining us. Thanks Louise Take. Care of other since my conversation with Ryan reports of state of the US Open will remain at winged foot in New York but postponed to a later date in the summer of twenty twenty the USDA has yet to make that decision official Ryan touches on the personal nature of the corona viruses. Impact of sports around the country sporting events. We've lost are more than just moneymakers or something to do in a weekend. There are part of our families. Our Passion Story Tennessee's. There's a long way to go before a casual round of golf with friends or family will be liable or even safe but remembering where we love. Sports in the first place could be what gets us through an unprecedented and scary moment in history in the end. It's never just sports. It's always about connecting. Thanks to Ryan a Celta for joining me. Today we'll continue bringing you the stories throughout the corona virus crisis. 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