The final stretch of the most unpredictable year imaginable ended with two of our biggest tournaments of 2020, writes ASHLEIGH BUHAI in the January issue of Compleat Golfer.
As I wrote this I was heading to the US Women’s Open, which was being played at The Champions Course in Houston.
That was followed by the Race to the CME final, in which which the top 72 players from the 2020 moneylist were to compete for $1-million.
I was the only South African in the field for that jackpot as we travelled to the US Women’s Open, having played 14 LPGA Tour events up to then, which included three top-10 finishes.
It’s hard to believe we have already reached the end of the year, considering that during the main part of the lockdown months it felt like time was standing still and I wondered if I was even going to play another tournament in 2020.
But, looking back on a year which has been full of so many changes and so much stress, it amazes me how we can adapt and become used to what is now the ‘new normal’ life on Tour.
We have been living ‘a bubble’ since July, being Covid-19 tested every week and have had no fans at our events. I miss being able to go out with my friends on Tour for dinner to catch up, hearing the cheers from the fans and signing autographs for young kids, but at the same time I am so grateful for how the LPGA Tour has handled the pandemic and found a way to get us back to playing tournaments.
In a year that has been so tough for many people I have been one of the fortunate ones to still have my job and have the opportunity to earn money and make up for the five months I didn’t play tournament golf.
I have been really happy with how I have played since we restarted at the end of July, so much so that even though I will only have played 16 tournaments in 2020 – which would include those two I mentioned – I have managed to have one of my best seasons.
I was lying 19th on the moneylist and 24th on the Race to the CME and getting to my highest Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Hopefully I can finish the year off strongly and after six months away from home I look forward to flying back to South Africa and enjoying the festive season with family. I’m aware that Covid is not over and we need to follow the rules and not become complacent. We’re all in this together, so wherever you are, have a blessed holiday season and make sure you celebrate responsibly.