Tim Hart: Harsh reality facing Aussie tour pros

With five wins from the past nine events, Queensland’s Tim Hart leads the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series Order of Merit with earnings of $18,907. Hart has won 22 events in the past 13 months but knows a prolonged postponement of the Aussie pro-am schedule due to the coronavirus will bring with it financial and emotional challenges for many players.

We didn’t know anything about the postponement of the Pro-Am Series until the second round of the Queanbeyan Pro-Am last Tuesday when we got the news that it was probably going to come to an end within the next few days.

It was disappointing because I’d found something that was working for me and was playing well but I can’t complain about not having the chance to play golf. There are a lot of people worse off than me right now.

The PGA and people at Yowani Golf Club were kind enough bring the presentation forward after my win last Thursday so I could make my flight back to Brisbane that night. I was cutting it pretty fine but by the time I got to the airport there were only two people in the line waiting. Whenever I’ve travelled at 6pm during the week it’s usually chaos.

It was an eerie feeling walking through the airport. It kind of felt like the times I’ve been in China where there are big airports but not many people in them.

I was travelling with Chris Wood and there was probably only one or two people per row on the flight back. Chris and I managed to keep our distance; he was in business and I was up the back with the cattle.

It’s hard to know how long guys will be able to go without tournaments to play in; I don’t have the answer to that. I’ve been talking to a lot of the other guys and I don’t think anyone has an answer.

Unless you’ve got some qualifications behind you or have a mate who can give you some work it’s going to be very difficult.

All I’ve done since I was a young fella is play golf so I haven’t got any qualifications or education to fall back on if I can’t play.

Dealing with the mental health battles I’ve been facing the past couple of years, sitting around all day is not going to be too good for me either.

In 2018 I was trying to play through some injuries which put a lot of pressure on me financially and mentally. There was a build-up over six months and then it hit me all at once; I’ve been battling anxiety and depression ever since.

It’s something that is there now which I am well aware of. I’m doing everything possible to keep that at bay, especially at a time like this when sitting on the couch with time to think is not a good thing.

I’ve spoken to one of the other boys and he said he went down to Centrelink today to see what we might be entitled to and the line was 200 metres long. If any of those people in line have got the virus, you don’t want to be there standing around waiting.

I’ll let it cool off for a bit and then talk to the boys who have been to Centrelink and see what they can do for us.

Financially, if you don’t have anything saved away from playing pro-ams or the Aussie tour events it’s going to be very difficult the next six months.

Even when we get the all clear to start playing again it’s going to be difficult for clubs and associations to put up the money for pro-ams to play in.

The past couple of months I’ve been practicing at Golf Central in Brisbane but I haven’t touched a club since I got home on Thursday night because of what’s going on.

It’s hard for me to put the time into practise not knowing when you’re going to be playing next. I always like to peak for events by putting in a good stint of practice rather than going out every day and hitting balls for the sake of it.

I probably can go and practise but to be 100 per cent honest I won’t for the time being just because I know there’s nothing coming up for me to compete in.

I’ve learnt recently the importance of routine and that’s something I’ll have to put in place these next few weeks. I do meditation every morning when I wake up and I’ve got my head around the idea that I’ll be stuck inside for a fair while now.

My girlfriend is a nurse so I’ll try and stay busy by supporting her as much as I can and the rest of the time I’ll read and listen to audio books and try and do some exercise here at home.

I’d love nothing more than to be back out there playing but I think the reality is that’s probably not going to be possible for a few months now.

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