Manx golf star Tom Gandy tees up for only his third full European Tour start at the ISPS HANDA Wales Open at Celtic Manor this week, following a mad dash from the Island on Monday. Although a full member of the Challenge Tour, Tom’s playing status means that he is a regular reserve for the full Tour events so his entry for this week was only confirmed early on Monday morning, leaving him only a few hours to pack and get himself to the Ferry Terminal for Monday’s sailing. Fortunately, having SteamPacket as one of his long-term supporters ensured that he could book at short notice and get himself to the Welsh venue in time to take the compulsory Covid test before entering the Tour ‘bubble’ for the week.
Like so many aspects of day-to-day life, the Covid 19 virus has had a significant effect on professional golf, delaying and cancelling tournaments across the globe, as well as seeing the recent events that have been permitted to go ahead taking place without spectators or crowds. For Tom and his fellow pros, this means regular testing and strict regulations in terms of outside contact at the events themselves, in addition to adhering to the Island’s quarantine regulations each time he returns home.
“It’s great to be back playing with a purpose and trying to put the hours I put in to my development during lockdown, to work. It’s a strange environment, particularly coming from the island where there’s no social distancing etc, to a place of face masks, social distancing, and that we’re not allowed to leave the hotel and golf course ‘bubble’ – but despite all of this, it’s golf as I know it and I’m really happy to be back. I’m expecting to maybe have some elements of rust in my performance but despite this, I’m thrilled to be back around elite competition and to be teeing it up amongst some of the world’s best players. It’s certainly motivating and I’m looking forward to the challenge!”
This will be Tom’s second start in recent weeks and he will take some encouragement from his performance at the English Championships at Ware in Hertfordshire two weeks ago. Although he missed the cut and the opportunity to play the last two days of the event, both of his rounds were under par and he made plenty of birdies – a sure sign that he can be competitive at this level.
Tom will tee off at 11.12am on Thursday and 7.00am on Friday and you can follow him on the European Tour app or website. With the weather looking it may resemble what Tom describes as “…a normal Manx summer…” hopefully this is a real opportunity for a great week – and the chance to see that Isle of Man flag in the top half of that leaderboard.