Nethy Bridge golfer Hannah McCook says the incentive of competing in this year’s Ladies Scottish Open gives her all the motivation she needs during the lockdown period.
McCook secured her place at the event for the first time after winning the ladies order of merit on the inaugural Tartan Pro Tour, which was set up by Paul Lawrie last year.
The series of home-based events provided welcome tournament action for McCook, at a time when she was not competing on the Ladies European Tour access series due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s LET access series schedule remains uncertain, however, the Ladies Scottish Open is due to take place in August with a venue still to be set.
McCook says competing in the tournament for the first time provides an exciting lift for the year ahead.
She said: “I knew it was a prize for the order of merit, so I knew if I stayed and played that it could give me something to look forward to.
“I look at a lot of events that could happen or could not happen. If that one happens I will be delighted – even if I can have just that one.
“Everyone says the same just now, that motivation is low because there is nothing to do.
“To know there is stuff to work for makes it a bit easier to get out of bed in the morning, and go to the cold garage and do some gym stuff, or putt upstairs.
“Having that to look forward to is definitely helping. If I had nothing like that to look forward to, I would probably be struggling.”
McCook has not travelled abroad since the first lockdown, with the LET last year suspending all players’ status to this year.
The 27-year-old reckons she will have to travel for tournaments in order to keep her status for 2022, however, but feels she will have a greater idea of what to expect at events following her experience on the Tartan Pro Tour.
McCook added: “All season last year they said they had pushed our status back from last season to this season, but I can’t imagine they will do that for a second year.
“Because they managed to get some events in they would know they could do it this year, and you would have to go if you wanted to stay on it.
“I’m probably going to have to go back out this year, I will probably feel easier doing it this year. I just know I have to be as safe as possible.
“The whole of last year I didn’t go abroad. You are in a bubble when you are there, but it’s just getting into the bubble.
“If I was travelling I probably wouldn’t perform because I would feel a bit uncomfortable.
“I can’t spend that money to go away and try to perform when I’m not feeling comfortable, as I’m never going to perform.
“I felt quite comfortable playing in the Tartan Pro Tour events, which were great. I could just drive myself there, play a tournament and then drive home again.
“I did the whole process of wearing my mask, handing in my scorecard and temperature checks, as well as things like doing scoring on an app.
“That gave me the feeling that it was different to a normal tournament.
“There are a lot of things like that, which I think will stay – they won’t go back to how they used to be.”
McCook says practice opportunities have been limited due to the cold winter conditions in the Highlands, but she is keen to maintain her fitness to be ready for restarting her schedule.
She added: “It’s completely uncertain. At this time, normally I would be heading out to South Africa for a couple of weeks which has all been pushed back.
“I wasn’t going to go anyway as there’s a lot of chat about a South African variant.
“We don’t actually have a schedule released for the LET access tour yet, so it will probably be a wee while until everything starts.
“I’m just trying to keep on top of things, but there has been a lot of snow here. I’m actually doing more fitness stuff than golf just now, but that’s important.”