Here’s how the only known pro golfer with the coronavirus feels about the PGA Tour’s return
On a Sunday morning, over his cup of coffee, in his family’s home, Victor Lange read one word.
For five straight days, he read five on his phone. “Pending, your results were submitted.” And so for those five straight days, and seemingly every five minutes over those five days, he refreshed the app. Pending, pending, pending, pending, pending.
Victor Lange was the only known PGA Tour golfer to test positive for Covid-19.
Victor Lange is now the only known PGA Tour golfer to test positive for Covid-19 and then test negative for Covid-19.
“It was a pretty good cup of coffee,” he said.
He told his girlfriend, Gabriella Van Niekerk. He had been originally tested only because of her. She hurt her toe while the two were vacationing in South Africa after he had returned home from a PGA Tour Latinoamerica tournament, and before entering the emergency room, Lange received a test.
He told his parents, Suzette and Richard. They had watched their son quarantine himself in their home after he had received news of the positive test in mid-March. Victor has been asymptomatic throughout, and he has wondered his parents’ fate if he had come home without a test.
“That was always my concern – my parents’ health,” he said. “If I went out into the world and contracted a disease and became ill, so be it. That’s kind of the risks of life – there are so many diseases and bacteria out there that that’s just the reality of life.
“But I would be extremely upset if I actually came home with a disease that I was asymptomatic to – that I had shown no symptoms of – and then infected my parents and they got seriously ill. That would be the worst thing.”
Lange then told his fellow players. And the players, in turn, have reached out to him. Lange’s last tournament, the Estrella del Mar Open in early March in Mexico, was also the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s last before it went on its current hiatus. How is Lange feeling? How was he feeling? How do you know whether a sick feeling is maybe something more? He’s their expert.
“It’s almost like people are on high alert these days,” Lange said. “You could give a little cough, and all of a sudden, a lot of eyebrows are raised. Basically all I’ve been communicating is just keep a cool head, keep positive and do the best you can in whatever situation.”
Which is also how he believes professional golf should proceed.
The only known professional golfer to test positive for Covid-19 and then test negative for Covid-19 supports both the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s and the PGA Tour’s plans to return. The PGA Tour is scheduled to resume on June 11 in Fort Worth, Texas. The PGA Tour Latinoamerica is scheduled to resume on Aug. 20 in Brazil. Lange will be there.
“Everyone wants golf to return, and we’re all going to have to work together to make that possible. That doesn’t mean the Tour itself; it means the players as well,” he said. “We’re all going to have to agree that things aren’t the way they were, and if we want to move forward, we’re going to have to make some health changes. …
“The game could look a little differently than it used to. I think it is going to be challenging, but I think it’s doable to get past all these things and make it happen.”
Which is also how he believes professional golf travel should proceed.
Lange lives in South Africa. The PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s tournaments have stretched across North America and South America. Three continents of airports, airplanes, hotels and transportation. Lange will be there.
“if it is open, traveling to South American countries, you’re just going to have to use extreme caution,” he said. “This is something we’re pretty much going to have to go through and live through. Unless they come up with a vaccine and completely flatten the curve and kill off infections, this is something we’re just going to have to become accustomed to.”
On March 8, Lange made a par at the Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach in Mexico, and he hasn’t touched a golf club since. He’s tested positive – luckily – for the virus that has caused a pandemic. He’s quarantined. He’s been worried about the people he cares about. He’s refreshed an app on his phone to tell him he’s negative.
He said he’s been mentally ready for all of it.
The only known professional golfer to test positive for Covid-19 and then test negative for Covid-19 is ready for whatever’s next.
“I’m going to have to be able to adapt to anything, and I’m going to have to do so well because the person that does that the best is going to perform the best and that’s ultimately what it’s all about,” Lange said. “Ultimately it’s trying to get that trophy in the cabinet, and you’re going to have to do whatever to make that happen.”