I have a big fear.  I'm worried that when golf comes back post Coronavirus the protocols for play will be over the top.  They'll be ultra cautious, clinical and they'll take the fun AND the skill out of the game.

Here's my tuppance worth.

First of all the notion of picking up the virus from the flagstick or a bunker rake, or from taking the ball out of the hole is miniscule. It's ridiculous even. There's not a shred of evidence that there's even the slightest threat from it.

Coronavirus is a protein, not a living thing, it doesn't "coat" or barely even survive on plastic or wooden surfaces like flagsticks or rakes handles.  Especially outdoors.  Even if you do think its a risk, compare it for example to grocery shopping.  Think of all the thousands of products in your Tesco supermarket, think of all the people that handled the packaging of all the stuff in the trolley before you. Then you bring it all home.  If touching surfaces was an issue, then shopping would be a much bigger issue than a flagstick!

Yet every time post Corona golf is mentioned it is front and centre, 'oh we'll have no bunkers in play 'coz we cant rake them' or 'oh instead of the hole we'll have a plastic pipe or a foam swimming noodle that you'll putt the ball up to and if it hits it it's in.'  That would be idiotic.  That's not the game.

Bunkers are what make the game tough.  They are hazards.  Lip outs are what loses tournaments and Majors for God's sakes.

Matt Fitzpatrick was leading by a mile when at the 2019 Scandinavian Invitational when his approach shot hit the pin and bounced off the green leading to bogey.  If that happened in a post Corona, with 'just knock it off the pin/plastic pipe/swimming noodle thingy and we'll call it in' he'd have won the tournament by a mile!! Sorry Erik Van Rooyen but its a fact.

So I am pleading with the powers that be, in my country its the Golfing Union Of Ireland, to yes please have social distancing and other good strategies in place to make golf safe, but use your intelligence and common sense and don't make golf stupid when it returns.

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