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What do you do when your tour gets cancelled? A young Scots pro explains…

Confirmation came at 5pm last night. 

There had been rumours, murmurings, the usual hearsay. But nothing substantive, nothing definitive.

Not until the tweet came through. 

Eighty-nine words was all it took to cancel the 2020 EuroPro Tour, a devastating blow that has quite possibly ended many golfers' long-held dreams of playing at the very top level

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The news was overshadowed by the subsequent announcement, just hours later, that the PGA Tour was cancelling four more tournaments and that the US PGA Championship, scheduled for May, was being postponed. 

Those alerts inevitably echoed louder and further than the cancellation of a circuit on the third-rung of Europe's professional golf ladder. 

For the players dependent on the EuroPro Tour, however, the news was shattering. More than that, it immediately posed a terrifying two-word question for which there appears to be no immediate answer.

Now what?

Scotland's Sam Locke was one of those whose 2020 vision focused primarily on the EuroPro Tour.

The silver medallist in the 2018 Open Championship, Locke is little more than 18 months into his professional career and, like Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Eddie Pepperell before him, he's taking the long road to the top of the game. 

At 21 years of age, he can well afford to. As Tolstoy observed, after all, the two most powerful warriors are patience and time. 

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Locke has plenty of the latter but will arguably need even more of the former now that the spread of COVID-19 has scuppered his plans and left him nowhere to play this year.  

"I heard the news at the same time as everyone else," he told bunkered.co.uk. "I did think the tour would maybe be in doubt because of all of the other postponements and cancellations that have going on lately but it was still a bit of a blow when it was announced. 

"But there's nothing we can do about it. It is what it is and, honestly, health comes first. That's the most important thing for all of us right now."

He's right, of course. 

In a broad sense, there are certainly bigger things to worry about than golf. That, though, is of little comfort to the many players who rely on the circuit to make a living. For them, the cancellation of the EuroPro Tour is akin to being made redundant.

“I can see it being a massive issue for some of the guys,” added Locke. “I mean, if you can’t play then what can you do?

"I’m lucky in that I still live at home so I don’t have to worry about things like mortgages and bills thankfully. But a lot of other players I know aren’t in that boat, so it’s going to be worrying for them, I'm sure. All we can do is hope that things get back to normal as soon as possible."

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When that might is anybody's guess. In the meantime, Locke and some of his fellow pros in the north-east of Scotland may resort to setting up their own tournaments in order to stay competitive.

“It’s something we’ve discussed although we haven’t made any firm arrangements just yet,” he said. “We’re just trying to explore any possibilities to try to play as much as possible and to keep ourselves sharp for when we come out the other side of this. 

“We intend to practice as if we’ve got a tournament coming up and with the mindset that this isn’t going to last forever.”

Amen to that.




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