Tour pro borrows FACE MASK off golf fan to compete in Australian Open

But Paul Casey admits the bushfires had "no effect on our golf out there."

Andy Roberts's picture
Thu, 5 Dec 2019
Tour pro borrows FACE MASK off golf fan to compete in Australian Open

Tour pro Ryan Chisnall was forced to rely on a spectator's face mask for helping him continue playing his first round of the Australian Open as a thick smoke from bushfires descended across the golf course. 

Chisnall, an asthmatic golfer, had forgotten to bring his inhaler and he was seen coughing and spluttering on his first seven holes at The Australian Golf Club, having started on the 10th.

Seeing how much discomfort the New Zealander was in as he walked down the 17th fairway (his eighth hole of the round), a golf spectator kindly offered Chisnall a face mask to give him some short-term relief. 

"I've had breathing problems for a while," said Chisnall, who went on to post a level-par 71 to lie six strokes off the early pace. 

"These sort of conditions don't really help me and I didn't bring my inhaler today. That was a bit of a mission.

"Some bloke on the 17th fairway gave me a mask. I don't know if it helped, but I gave it a whirl for a bit and tried it out. I was always going to just keep going.

"It's pretty bruising. It's an emotional rollercoaster and you go through the ups and downs. Physically I feel fine. It's just the constant cough. By the end of the day the head starts to hurt a little bit because you're coughing so much."

Bushfires have continued to cause chaos across the state, and a number of other players were seen struggling, including Matt Jones.

"It's awful," said Jones, who still went on to post a respectable round of 4-under 67. "I'm not sure what the forecast is but it's not good at all. It's tough to see your golf ball when you're out there playing, where it finishes. 

"Your eyes do burn up. I've got that cought like you've got something in your lungs, phlegm in your lungs or whatever, it's not fun."

Tournament favourites Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey got off to solid starts with rounds of 68, but it was a day to forget for home favourite Adam Scott who posted a 4-over 75. 

Casey had a slightly different take on the conditions, claiming the fires had very little effect on the golf. 

"I don't care about me," said Casey. "You've got to feel for the people that are right next to the fires. You're not going to hear me complaining about it because I'm not in a position to complain. Apart from stinging eyes, it has no effect on our golf out there."