Gut-wrenching: Burns to miss major moment

Prolific Ladbrokes Legends Tour winner Brad Burns has described missing out on the chance to make his Seniors major debut as “gut-wrenching” as he faces the prospect of returning to work in the mines in central Queensland.

An official announcement on the postponement of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship due to be played from May 21-24 at Harbor Shores in Michigan is expected any day now but Burns has already received credit for his flights to America, hopeful that the tournament will still go ahead later in the year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement of all major golf tours around the world yet in a release on Wednesday the PGA of America said they were still in the process of determining the alternatives available for the Senior PGA Championship.

“We hope to have an update in the near future and sincerely appreciate the patience of our wonderful volunteers, fans, supporters and our partners at KitchenAid,” the statement said.

“The health and safety of all involved in this prestigious championship is our highest priority.”

It’s a cruel blow for Burns who was last year denied the opportunity to play in the Insperity Invitational for the second straight year due to a late change in qualifying criteria, a change that meant he forfeited flights and accommodation already paid for.

Burns’ place in the 2020 Senior PGA field was earned by topping the 2019 Ladbrokes Legends Tour Order of Merit with nine wins from 75 starts but he must now wait to see when that opportunity will ultimately present itself.

“They’re going to make a decision in the next day or so but hopefully it’s going to be postponed until later in the year,” Burns said.

“That’s a disappointment, especially after last year. I was supposed to go to the Insperity Invitational and they changed the categories two months before we went.

“I’d already paid for the accommodation and the airfares so that’s two years running.

“I got an e-mail back yesterday and they’re going to make a decision soon but it can’t be on. No chance.

“Even if it is I can’t get there because QANTAS aren’t flying over there.

“It’s gut-wrenching.”

Prior to joining the Legends Tour as a rookie in 2016, Burns spent four years working in the mines, driving trucks for BMA near Blackwater in central Queensland.

Despite the fact that he has enjoyed wins this year at Otago, Long Island, Moonah Links, Portsea and most recently at Bermagui on March 17, Burns has already enquired as to heading back to the mines with little hope of returning to tournament golf anytime soon.

“I spent four years up in the mines until about 2016 so I’m going to apply for something up there and see how we go because any golf we get to play this year is going to be limited,” said Burns, who has been keeping boredom at bay this week by practising at Maroochy River on the Sunshine Coast.

“Because I’ve been in there before I’ve got all the paperwork to get back in there, just. Another five months or so and I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“The paperwork is valid for five years and then you’ve got to do it again but hopefully I can sneak in there and get a job.

“If the mines helps cover me for six months without golf then at least you’re not spending all that hard-earned cash that you’ve earnt playing.

“I really feel for the young blokes who have nothing other than golf. I’ve been fortunate to do a few different things over the years but what do they do?

“Most likely go down to Centrelink and hop in line.”

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