AUGUSTA, Ga. – In the weeks main up to final 12 months’s one-off November Masters, Gary Woodland turned one thing of a hermit.
Before his cease at Augusta National, Woodland strictly adhered to all the protocols on testing, social distancing, masks sporting and safer-at-home insurance policies. He even took his son, Jaxson, out of faculty the week prior to the match in an try to keep away from any potential publicity and essentially the most premature of optimistic assessments.
In a twist of testing and protocols, nevertheless, Woodland’s optimistic take a look at final month following The Players Championship turned out to be useful on a minimum of one entrance.
“That was the only bright side, was not having to test for that for three months,” Woodland stated. “For the last year I’ve been really nervous about it before the majors.”
Under the testing protocols, Woodland gained’t be examined for 3 months which suggests he’ll play the 12 months’s first three major championships with out one other optimistic testing and an undesirable withdrawal hanging over his head.
Woodland had been staying at a rental home throughout The Players Championship with 9 members of his household, together with his spouse, son and fogeys. All 9 folks examined optimistic for COVID-19, together with his father and 3-year-old son.
“I didn’t have horrible symptoms, just felt like I had the flu for a few days. The same for my wife, but my son was pretty sick,” Woodland stated. “It was scary when you see a 3-year-old with it.”
There’s no good time to catch the coronavirus however testing optimistic the week earlier than one of many 4 largest occasions of the 12 months could be crushing. Just ask Sergio Garcia.
Garcia was poised to return to Augusta National, the location of his solely major championship victory, final fall earlier than testing optimistic for the coronavirus. He was pressured to miss the Masters and his streak of 84 consecutive majors ended.
“[His wife] Angela, unfortunately, got it worse; I gave it to her and she got it worse than me,” Garcia stated. “It was disappointing, I’m not going to lie.”
Like Woodland, Garcia had been extra cautious earlier than the majors however following his optimistic take a look at he determined to take much more precautions earlier than this week’s Masters.
Garcia didn’t play final week’s Valero Texas Open, which is in his adopted house state and a semi-regular cease on his schedule, and he’s tried to maintain his distance from followers in current weeks.
“I would love to get closer to the fans, but there’s too much at risk, at stake for us and if we get COVID because of anything, we’re the one that pays. We pay the price. No one else does,” he stated. “We have to be very careful as the fans come back into our game, which is great to have them, don’t get me wrong.”
As the nation inches towards extra COVID-19 vaccinations and restrictions are progressively easing it’s comprehensible to be lulled right into a false sense of safety. “To be honest, I thought we were kind of past it. I’d been so careful,” Woodland stated.
But the added diploma of scrutiny and testing within the run-up to the Masters has prompted many to double down on their efforts and a possible optimistic take a look at is at all times looming.
“I even thought about it last week I came up for a practice round and thought, well, I have to take a test to come and play the practice round. What happens if I’m positive; am I going to miss by running the risk of testing today?” stated Adam Scott, who examined optimistic for COVID-19 final fall on the Zozo Championship.
The different, as Garcia discovered on the Masters and Scottie Scheffler found eventually 12 months’s U.S. Open the place he was pressured to withdraw following a optimistic take a look at, is an undesirable week off with historical past on the road.
“I talked with Sergio about that, and it’s gutting because in some ways, although it means not much, like having that streak that he had, it meant something,” Scott stated. “The longevity, it’s pretty much overlooked generally, but it’s an amazing streak of good golf that he’s played, to have 84 straight. He was more than a little disappointed to test out that week.”
COVID-19 testing has turn out to be part of on a regular basis life on Tour. It’s a part of the routine, however throughout sure weeks, like this week, the testing takes on a wholly new degree of urgency.