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Golf: Scottish amateur Rory Franssen relives Covid-19 experience

Scottish amateur Rory Franssen at the PGA Amateur at Royal Aberdeen in 2018.
Scottish amateur Rory Franssen at the PGA Amateur at Royal Aberdeen in 2018.

Scottish amateur golfer Rory Franssen had his own bizarre brush with Covid-19 – which saw him quarantined in a hotel for 10 days.

Franssen, who plays at the University of Missouri, took a friend to get tested for the virus in August, before contracting it himself.

What followed was 10 days in quarantine at a nearby hotel for the Inverness-born player, with the university moving him out of shared accommodation.

Fortunately it did not affect his competitive season and force him to miss any tournaments, but was still a strange experience.

“It was a bit odd,” said Franssen. “I took one of my team-mates to get tested, sat in the car with him both wearing masks and him sat in the back. That was the advice of the university.

“He ended up testing positive and two days, I woke up with a sore head and felt dizzy. That lasted for a day or so and I tested positive. They sent me to hotel for 10 days and waited out my time.

“Thankfully I didn’t have any long Covid symptoms. I didn’t have any of the loss of smell or taste, which was good.

“It was bizarre as you weren’t allowed to leave the hotel room. You had to stay in the room for 10 days and the window didn’t even open – you were on the fourth floor of a hotel – so having no fresh air was brutal.

“With my room-mates and needing to avoid contact with them, putting me in a hotel means I was far away from everyone. That was the measure for everyone who had it.”

What the episode did give him the benefit of, however, was follow-up health checks which were mandated by the governing bodies.

“The conference I’m in, the Southeastern Conference, have a rule where you have to get your heart checked out after you’ve had Covid,” he added. “They did a lot of checks to see if there were any long-term effects and thankfully there wasn’t.

“That’s been one of the issues, people having heart and lung problems from it, so it’s good they did that as I don’t think I’ve had my heart checked in my life.”

Rory Franssen, a student golfer at the University of Missouri.

“There was a lot of sport on at that time; I had a sport schedule with the Tour de France, the PGA Tour golf then the NBA finals. I basically just watched sport all day.

“I had my wedge and my putter in my room, so I was messing around with those as well. You can’t complain – you’re put up in a hotel for free, so it could be worse.”

Franssen was due to finish up as a Mizzou Tiger last year but because of Covid-19, has been given an extra year of eligibility as a graduate student.

His three tournaments towards the end of 2020 brought a mixed bag, finishing 46th and 59th before a third place at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Alabama in November.

“With the lockdowns in Europe it was an opportunity to come back and play tournament golf,” said Franssen. “I thought it was the best decision and it’s been good for me.

“My next tournament is at the beginning of February, at Sea Island in The Jones Cup. It’s a good quality amateur event that I’ve played in a few times before.

“After that the college season starts, when I’m playing out in Florida with the team. Hopefully we qualify for regionals and if we finish top-five in that, we qualify for nationals.”

With a ranking of 216 in the World Amateur Golf rankings, the former Culloden Academy pupil, whose family now live in Auchterarder, has designs on bettering that to give him a chance at a professional career.

He added: “It obviously depends on how I play and if any opportunities arise for me. Playing on the European Tour would be ideal scenario eventually but we’ll see how that goes.

“Obviously at the moment it’s difficult to see a month in advance, never mind two years. But I’ll try climb up the rankings and see if that leads to more opportunities professionally.”

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