If only someone had given a shout of ‘fore’ then perhaps the coronavirus and its associated ravages could have been nipped in the bud.

As it stands, golf, like everything else, is facing up to the unprecedented chaos. “I think The Masters will drop, logic tells you it will,” declared Iain Stoddart, the manager of some of Scotland’s leading golfers, as he pondered the knock-on effects of this global pandemic.

“The coronavirus is going to go round at a furious rate of knots and I can see April and May being a write off.”

Glasgow Times:

On the European Tour, where Stoddart’s leading lights ply their trade, events have been dropping quicker than the Bank of England’s interest rates due to the remorseless march of COVID-19.

The Indian Open, set to be defended by Stoddart’s sturdy stalwart Stephen Gallacher next week, was called off yesterday while news swiftly followed that the circuit’s Czech Masters, which was not due to take place until late August, has also been postponed.

In total, five European Tour events have already fallen by the wayside while schedules across the golfing spectrum, from the LPGA Tour to the third-tier MENA Tour, have been savaged as the virus grips the world in a double nelson.

His players may not be competing amid this enforced hiatus but that doesn’t mean Stoddart is sitting in self-isolation twiddling his thumbs. “As a manager the biggest thing in the short term is unravelling stuff and sorting out all the plans for events that you had in place,” he said.

“You’ve made bookings for stuff right across the schedule for the whole year. China and Malaysia got called off early so we didn’t lose too much on that and to be fair the tour have been very good in refunding hotel rooms and everything.

“You just hope you can recoup things. We have to be re-active as opposed to pro-active and we just have to roll with the punches.”

Glasgow Times:

A couple of weeks ago, the Italian pair of Edoardo Molinari and Lorenzo Gagli were tested for coronavirus during an event in Oman but, thankfully, both returned negative results.

“They were on the cusp of being caught in a horrible situation and the last thing you want is to be quarantined somewhere far afield,” said Stoddart. “Thankfully, all our boys are back in Scotland.”

Stoddart is waiting to hear if his star client, Robert MacIntyre, will get into the forthcoming WGC-Matchplay in Austin, Texas.

Glasgow Times:

PGA Tour officials have stated that it is going ahead as planned but with large, public gatherings like the renowned South by Southwest festival being cancelled in the same city, nothing can be guaranteed. “You have to think it (the WGC event) will be off, golf can’t be immune to this,” added Stoddart.

With lives being lost, sport is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t stop questions being asked, though. And there are more questions than answers at this stage

“One of the first things that came into my head was ‘does the tour’s qualifying school go ahead this year?’,” said Stoddart, of the annual scramble to get on to the tour.

“The guys who won their cards for 2020 are now facing very few opportunities to play.

“There’s a case to honour last year’s result and not hold a q-school this season. It’s early days, of course, and we’ll have to wait and see how bad things get.There’s no precedent for this.”