South African Erik van Rooyen has admitted to being “absolutely gutted” that his Masters debut has had to be put on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 30-year-old, who received the invitation from Augusta National back in January, was set to tee it up at The Masters this week for the very first time.
“I was absolutely gutted when I heard the news,” Van Rooyen told bunkered.co.uk. “I was on the phone with my caddie on the Thursday night of The Players Championship and we were discussing the first round and how we were going to go about round two when I got the text about that tournament being cancelled.
“Everything just unfolded the next few days. I was really looking forward to Augusta. My parents were going to come over, it was my first Masters, so I was really excited. I guess I’ll just have to let that excitement bulge for a little longer.”
As a player who plies his trade on the European Tour, van Rooyen is now facing a situation where the earliest he can hope to play competitively again is June 4, with the Trophée Hassan II the next scheduled event.
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“It’s definitely strange times. It’s hard to believe there is another two months without scheduled events. My guess is that they are probably going to cancel some more going forward and I could definitely see us having three months, maybe even longer, without golf.
“I’m constantly debating with myself how much time I should take off and when I want to get back to practising again because it’s pointless just going to the course and mulling about. If I’m going to go hit some balls, I’m going to want to focus but when you’ve got so much time off it’s a tough thing to do.”
Instead of what would have been one of the most special weeks of his career, the former European Tour winner will have to entertain himself at home, which doesn’t seem too much of a challenge for the guitar enthusiast.
“At the minute, it just feels like another off-season. It gives me an opportunity to work on my fitness a little bit. It means I also get to spend some more with my amazing guitars.”
“I’m just trying to continue to see things in a positive light. There’s more important things going on than golf at the minute.”