The PGA Tour returned from a three-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday. But for golf enthusiasts around the world, the true measure and appeal of a tour event is a tight, nerve-wracking final round.
If the planned 18 holes end in a tie at the top of the scoreboard leading to a tense, more nervous playoff, then all the better.
In that sense, professional golf got its wish on Sunday with a star-studded scoreboard featuring the game's top players, who hovered and stumbled alternately in what was an entertaining ending to an eventful week for the sport.
The Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth started with the 148 players in the field who successfully pass the tests for the corona virus. Then, at the beginning of each of the four rounds, players, caddies and officials on the golf course paused in honor of George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis led to police protests worldwide. Then, the golfers adapted to a new state of tournament play: competition without fans.
Eventually a one-hole playoff at Colonial & # 39; s 17th hole with a rising star on the tour, Collin Morikawa, 23, ended up missing a short par putt who handed the championship over to Daniel Berger , another emerging young player who has had to overcome serious, career-threatening injury.
Berger captured his berth in the playoff with a spinning birdie putt on the 72nd hole of the event. Morikawa could have won on the same 18th green, but missed a 3-foot putt. Berger, 27, whose playoff record for Sunday was 0-2, felt sorry for Morikawa.
"Of course I didn't want to win it like that, but sometimes that's just how golf goes," Berger said. , who has now won three tournaments in his career and four top 10 finishes in 2020. “To get out here and beat so many of the best players in the world, look at the field that was here this week and I don't have a great playoff record – so to appear here this way, i am very proud of myself.
Morikawa then explained that he had hit the well on the 18th hole as he intended, but had misread the green break. Of his missed playoff putt, he simply said, "Just not a good putt."
The top golfers made a run for the tournament on Sunday, including Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau, who all finished within two strokes of the lead.
& # 39; The world's top ranked player, Rory McIlroy, started the day with a chance to catch the leaders, but took the first hole, the course is the easiest. From there it went downhill. When he first played at Colonial, he took over the fourth, fifth, and ninth holes and doubled the seventh, leaving the game early. He finished with a four-over-par 74.
Playing with McIlroy was DeChambeau, who was just as cheerful as his partner was discouraged. DeChambeau had played the event four times and made the cut only once. He struck three strokes behind Schauffele, leader of the third round, on Sunday, but with five birdies in a nine-hole length near the middle of his round, he counted on a tie for the lead.
DeChambeau's 145-yard approach shot to the 17th green flew long and in a difficult spot to chip from behind the hole. He did not recover well from that predicament and the subsequent bogeyman slowed down. Still, he got a chance to get into the playoff with a birdie attempt at 18 that he nearly punctured.
DeChambeau, whose newly improved, muscular upper body enabled him to defeat sky-high drives that overwhelmed the venerable colonial layout,
& # 39; If I Putted Well & # 39 ;, he said afterwards, 'he had won a lot this week. I am very encouraged.
Berger's comeback comes after a confusing, grueling injury in 2018. After finishing sixth at the United States Open, he felt pain in his right index finger after hitting the next event of the tour, the Travelers Championship. Berger tried to play through the pain for months, but the discomfort not only worsened, it also led to an inflammation of his right wrist. An extended rest period was the medically recommended course of action.
While Berger made strides in 2019, he didn't seem to regain his old form until spring, with a tie for the ninth, a tie for fifth, and a shared fourth in three consecutive tour events. Berger said the health problems in his career helped motivate him.
Updated June 12, 2020
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Touching contaminated objects and then infecting us with the germs is not typical of how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies on the flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus, and other microbes have shown that respiratory diseases, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, especially in places such as nurseries, offices, and hospitals. But a long series of events must take place to spread the disease that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus – be it superficial transmission or close human contact – is still to socialize, wash your hands, not touch your face, and wear masks.
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A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Having type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to receive oxygen or go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
How many people have lost their jobs to coronavirus in the United States?
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Will protests cause a second viral wave of coronavirus?
Massive protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people to the streets of cities across America raise the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn the crowd in cases could cause a wave. . Many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, but urged protesters to wear face masks and maintain social distance, both to protect themselves and to prevent further spread of the virus to the community. Some infectious disease experts were reassured that protests were taking place outdoors, saying that the open air could reduce the risk of transmission.
How do we start training again without hurting ourselves after months of lockdown?
Exercise researchers and doctors have some blunt advice for those of us who want to return to regular exercise now: start slowly and boost your workouts, too slowly. U.S. adults were generally about 12 percent less active after home mandates started in March than in January. But there are steps you can take to safely return to regular exercise. First, & # 39; Start with no more than 50 percent of the exercise you did for Covid & # 39; says Dr. Monica Rho, chief of musculoskeletal medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. Also thread in some preparatory squats, she advises. "If you haven't trained, you lose muscle mass." Expect some twitching after these preparatory, post-lockdown sessions, especially a day or two later. But sudden or increasing pain during exercise is a clarion sound to stop and return home.
My state opens again. Is it safe to go out?
States are gradually opening up again. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more companies are allowed to open again. The federal government largely leaves the decision to the states, and some state leaders leave the decision to the local authorities. Even if you're not told to stay at home, it's still a good idea to limit outdoor travel and interact with other people.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common symptoms are fever, a dry cough, fatigue, and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and blocked sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle aches, sore throats, headaches and a new loss of taste or smell as symptoms to watch out for. Most people get sick five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms can appear in two days or even 14 days.
How can I protect myself while flying?
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most importantly, wash your hands often and never touch your face again. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during the flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, because people who sit by the window had less contact with potentially ill people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfectant wipes to clean the hard surfaces on your seat, such as the head and armrest, seat belt buckle, the remote control, the screen, the back pocket of the seat and the tray table . If the chair is hard and non-porous or leather or pleather, you can also wipe it off. (Using wipes on upholstered chairs can result in a wet chair and spreading germs rather than killing them.)
Do I have to wear a mask?
The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks when going out in public. This is a shift in federal guidelines that reflects new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. So far, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that everyday people should not wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to keep medical grade masks for health professionals who need them badly at a time when they are constantly in short supply. Masks do not replace hand washing and social distance.
What should I do if I feel sick?
If you have been exposed to, or think you have, the coronavirus and have a fever or symptoms such as coughing or breathing difficulties, call a doctor. They should advise you on whether to be tested, how to be tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
"There were so many times today that I could have given up or put the pressure on me," he said. "But I hung in there and practically played some of the best golf I've played in the last five holes of the past six years."
Harold Varner III – an early tournament leader who was one of the few black golfers on elite professional tours and who was vocal in the discussion in golf about racial injustice last week – started the discussion but had some costly missteps in the middle of his round on Sunday. He shot 72 and finished in tied 19th place. including four birdies and five bogeys. He finished in 10th place.
Spieth nevertheless felt refreshed and not only because he was playing competitive golf again.
"I definitely see progress," said Spieth. "I knew I came in that I didn't have all the tools. I didn't have all my weapons yet. But I definitely won more this week, got a lot of confidence."
Bill Nichols contributed to the reporting.