Senden back in US pro golf safety demo

John Senden will be among a handful of US PGA Tour winners joining celebrities such as Tony Romo in a charity golf event in Texas this week.

JOHN SENDEN of Australia at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course Palm Harbor, Florida.
JOHN SENDEN of Australia  at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course Palm Harbor, Florida. Picture: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

With son Jacob's brain tumour scans showing positive signs, an upbeat John Senden is contesting a 54-hole charity golf event in Texas this week which he believes can lay a safety platform for the US PGA Tour's return in June.

Australian Senden is among several US PGA Tour players and celebrities such as NFL legend Tony Romo who will contest the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational from Tuesday at Maridoe Golf Club outside Dallas.

Extreme Covid-19 safety measures allowing the event to go ahead include the absence of rakes in bunkers, as well as carts and caddies.

Players will carry or push their own bags and will not be allowed to arrive any earlier than 30 minutes before their tee times.

Scores will not be written down by players, instead recorded and collected by a scorer with each group.

The 72-player field includes US Tour winners such as Viktor Hovland, as well as Romo, former NBA guard Deron Williams and several NCAA college golf stars.

Top professional finishers will receive cash payouts from a purse of $US27,000. The remainder of the proceeds, including all entry fees of $US250 per player, will be donated to the club's full-time caddies, who have lost income because of covid-19.

With the US PGA Tour intending to return from its shutdown at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Dallas in mid-June, 49-year-old Senden says the charity event will be a good litmus test.

"The event will hopefully prove that golf can operate in a safe manner for everybody involved," Senden told AAP.

"I know the PGA Tour will be very interested to see how it goes."

US Tour players are usually supported by their caddie and typically arrive at tournaments at least 90 minutes before each round to warm up.

"It will be strange, yes," said Dallas-based Senden. "The only way I can beat that is living in the area, I can warm up at home.

"I have a small gym with a bike and rowing machine. I also have a hitting net and a synthetic putting green."

Senden, a two-time US PGA Tour winner, is buoyed by recent scans his son Jacob underwent for a brain tumuor he was diagnosed with in 2017.

"Jacob had an MRI four weeks ago and there was pretty much no change in the tumour again," he said.

"We will have one more six-monthly MRI in November, then hopefully Jacob will only need scans every 12 months after that.

"Jacob's health has been strong enough that we haven't had to worry too much about him getting the coronavirus and we haven't been going out exposing ourselves. We have been social distancing."


AAP