Golf & # 39; s Return pulls a star-studded field and spiky entry test

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The PGA Tour returns Thursday from a 90-day layoff on Thursday with a tournament in Fort Worth contested without spectators and with a new golf ritual: Players are instructed to disinfect their hands after each hole, while their caddies wipe golf bags with disinfectant.

But of the dozens of security procedures enacted for the return of professional golf, none have yet made the players worse than the corona virus tests they had to undergo when they arrived in Texas.

"I'm in more pain than I thought it was going to be, I'm not going to lie," Jon Rahm, number two on the tour, said on Tuesday, hours after he tested negative for the corona virus.

And when Jordan Spieth, the three-time grand championship winner, was asked what was the most awkward part of adapting to the new competitive environment of golf, he turned down suggestions that it could be the spectator-free atmosphere or someone can't get high-fiveen after a birdie putt.

"I think the swab test was probably the most awkward," said Spieth, referring to the long swab that needs to be inserted deep into the nasal cavity. "There was nothing comfortable about it."

While nothing can be as directly unpleasant as the virus smear test, during the four days in the Charles Schwab there are likely to be many unusual and abnormal situations. Challenge at the venerable Colonial Country Club.

Player scores rarely touched their clubs for two months after the PGA Tour suspended its schedule on March 13 due to the pandemic. Golf may be relaxed for recreational players, but for pros, the break was seen as an unexpected break from tight competition and the grind of long practice days.

In recent weeks, players have picked up their clubs again. But friendly contests with peers on a comfortable home course, or shapeless practice sessions, aren't the usual preparation for the stress of a PGA Tour event.

"It's almost impossible to simulate you're on tour," Dustin Johnson, the number 5-ranked golfer, said. & # 39; It takes some time to adjust. The match rust is very different if you haven't played. & # 39;

Rahm said he was seven weeks away from the game, and when he decided to play again his first goal was: & # 39; not the first seven balls I hit. & # 39; With that experience in mind, and with a laugh, Rahm predicted "a variety of scores" from his fellow competitors this week.

The long layoff unknowingly led to what is arguably the strongest field in the recent history of the Colonial event, which dates back to 1946. The world's top five ranked golfers, and 16 of the top 20, will retire on Thursday, although that group will not include the 11th-ranked Tiger Woods.

Woods, who has not toured the Genesis Invitational since mid-February when he finished last among golfers who made the cut, only played the Colonial Tournament once in 1997 and he usually plays none of the other tours events are scheduled in the next four weeks. Based on his usual schedule of favorite events, Woods wouldn't return until mid-July to play in the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

But with the 2020 golf schedule shaken up and revised – the United States Open is in September and the Masters in November – it's reasonable to expect Woods to break with tradition and play relatively quickly, perhaps in the RBC Heritage Next week's classic at Hilton Head, SC or at the Travelers Championship outside Hartford, Conn., June 25-28.

In addition to Woods, other prominent golfers are missing from this week's field, but most are non-Americans who did not make the trip to Texas due to government guidelines quarantining for 14 days. That group includes Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood from England, Francesco Molinari from Italy and Adam Scott from Australia. Each is ranked in the top 31 of the tour.

Updated June 5, 2020

Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 occur?

So far, the evidence seems to prove that this is the case. A much-cited article published in April suggests that people are most contagious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms, and an estimated 44 percent of new infections were due to transmission by people who did not yet have symptoms. showed. Recently, a top World Health Organization expert said that transmission of the coronavirus by people who had no symptoms was "very rare," but she later withdrew that statement.

How does the blood group affect the coronavirus?

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?

The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Department of Labor said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the country's job market as recruitments recovered faster than economists expected. Economists had predicted that the unemployment rate would rise to as much as 20 percent after it reached 14.7 percent in April, the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But instead, the unemployment rate fell, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million were lost in April.

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 is the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

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.

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.

This weekend's tournament reflects recent events alongside the pandemic. Tour officials plan to honor George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who was killed in police custody in Minnesota last month and the racial justice movement by keeping open at 8:46 a.m. start time on Thursday. Players around the golf course pause a minute of silence. The start time represents the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd & # 39; s neck.

Brooks Koepka, the world's third golfer, praised the gesture.

"Especially Since it is one of the first sports, it is important to set the tone for other sports – only for people in general," said Koepka. He added, "There has to be change, and I want to be part of the solution."

The tournament is contested without fans, which golfers easily admit, the strangest part of their return to game. Rahm wondered what players will hear when the final act of the tournament is a dramatic 30-foot putt punctured to win the title.

“Nothing? Crickets? & # 39; Rahm asked incredulously.

Meanwhile, the tour has issued warnings about players and caddies abiding by social distance rules. Some players have so far been better at keeping the correct distance than others. Frequent testing of players, caddies and course volunteers, including daily thermal measurements, may play a role in that phenomenon. Kevin Na, the event's defending champion, explained: & # 39; You have to remember that we have all been tested negative. I think guys are a little bit at ease. & # 39;

After continued: & # 39; I think people should be aware that mistakes will occur. Someone will get a fist. & # 39;

Na said, however, that he had asked travel officials about the potential for the virus to spread.

& # 39; The answer I got was that we hope it doesn't happen, and we don't think it will, because with all the tests we do and the precautions we take, 'he said. "But if so, if it starts to spread, they will re-evaluate and will probably have to cancel tournaments."

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