THE year 2020 has marked the first time in almost a decade that the local golfing fraternity has been deprived of competing on one of the biggest stages in the sport’s rich history– the Guyana Open Cup .
Although golf has proven to withstand the rigors of the pandemic, mostly due to the sport being played under an individual basis, with the choice of a caddy being optional, the Lusignan Golf Club (LGC), for the first time, will not be hosting its marquee event at the Lusignan Course.
Another downside to no competition this year is that fans will not get to witness the mastery and class of Avinash Persaud.
The reigning, defending champion has won the title 10 consecutive years, making him arguably the most successful golfer in the country over the last decade, while placing him among the ranks of one of the premier golfers in the entire Caribbean.
Earlier in the year, Persaud had told this publication that he was coping with the pandemic and lockdown reasonably well, despite not having full access to train and work entirely on the most important parts of his game.
Despite the obvious challenges, the ace golfer had remained focused on working towards possibly defending his title this year; making him an 11-time champ if he had succeeded.
Golf, on a whole, has shifted gears for the better as the Guyana Golf Association (GGA), backing up the efforts of the LGC to ensure that the sport’s legacy and the lovers are kept together even when challenges arise. The off-time also made golfers more aware of their flaws as a number of them from the community admitted to correcting their errors during the time afforded to them during lockdown, as they had hopes of playing in the Cup.
The pandemic curtailed not only the most important tournament of golf’s annual things-to-do, but the opportunity to possibly witness a number of new faces, old pros and, more so, participation from women.
The fraternity will also heavily miss out on the involvement of the overseas contingent of golfers who usually play integral parts in the expansion and high levels of competition which has been synonymous with the Cup over the years.
One thing that can be learnt from the disappointment, this year, is the need for early preparation for the hosting of the competition in 2021, even if the pandemic persists.
. With the sport’s ability to run solo games, which coincided with the Social-Distance guidelines, it remains a surprise that no avenue was created, thus ensuring that the most important event of the year for golf was hosted under some sort of normalcy. (Clifton Ross)