US Outlaw Tour offers events to golfers despite coronavirus
LOS ANGELES: There are torrential rains in the desert and tee box confusion with top prizes of just $ 4,500 (4,167 euros), but the Outlaw Tour of Golf is being played in Arizona despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-year-old male development circuit typically attracts 20-year-olds for 54-hole midweek events with entry fees of $ 775- $ 875 and is slated to play four final season events in April.
With almost all the other sports leagues in the U.S and closed worldwide amid safety precautions for the deadly COVID-19 virus, the Outlaw Tour continues thanks to golf courses that are declared an essential business in the state.
After two events since PGA Tour With play stopped, the Outlaw Tour will host the Orange Tree Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona, starting Tuesday with an 80-player field in a 6,739-yard layout.
The lineup features Alex Cejka, 49, of Germany, who won the 2015 PGA Puerto Rico Open and four European Tour titles from 1995-2002. His best result in 23 major starts was fourth in the 2003 PGA Championship.
Thomas Lehman and fan Sean Lehman, sons of the 1996 British Open champion and former world number one Tom Lehman , they are also in the field.
I think it's a really safe thing to do, 61-year-old Lehman told the PGA Tour website. Golf kind of has a built-in, social-distancing concept. You can't get inside the other player's space. You can play a round of golf with people and you don't get up close and personal.
The antlers remain in the holes and rakes are not provided for the bunkers. There are no handshakes or water coolers, and players who walk the field keep their distance from others to maintain patterns of social distancing.
At last week's Verrado Founders' Championship, Scottish Calum Hill, a newcomer to the 136th European Tour, closed with a par 68 of 4 under par to finish at 15 under 201 for a one shot victory over American Chris Korte.
But the big surprise came when 14 players were disqualified for playing on the wrong tee after a tee-box confusion on a par 3 hole in the first round.
The tee was set at 204 yards, while the score cards showed the hole at 222 yards. The first group to reach the hole played from the wrong tee and others followed after the error was discovered.
One hundred percent of the tour did the right thing by doing a DQ on everyone. Some refund would be good considering how many people made the same mistake and the current state of the world, James Feutz, one of the disqualified players, tweeted.
Among the 14 DQ'd boys with thousands of tournaments played ... none had played a wrong tee. In my opinion, some of that has to do with the way the course was organized and how the tournament was run.
Three weeks ago at the Western Skies Classic in Gilbert, heavy rain softened the course of Thursday's final round, when Canadian Jared du Toit shot a ghost-free 59, causing an eagle and nine birdies in the lowest round in the history of the Outlaw Tour.
I didn't think about it too late, du Toit said. He looked good at 17. He was angry at the time, he didn't come in, because I would have loved to have been able to par 18.
I got away with my tee shot. It ended up near the cart path. I had 105 yards inside and hit a wedge 6-7 feet and I did it.
Canadian Wil Bateman won a tie over du Toit and the American Carson Roberts with a little bird in the first extra hole for victory.
I feel like it's just an opportunity, Bateman told the PGA. It seems to me that when I'm out there, with all this, it's a place to stay calm.