Kelowna’s Megan Osland may one day look back at 2020 as her World Disaster Tour. The 26-year-old professional golfer is back home after coronavirus fears halted her competitive calendar.
Her golf season began on the Australian Tour — you know, the place that was on fire for much of the past few months.
“When I was flying to Australia, I bought a bunch of the N95 masks that we were figuring we might have to use for the smoke,” she said. “And then, two months later, we’re flying back to L.A. wearing them for coronavirus.”
The Kelowna Secondary School graduate — who played collegiate golf at San Jose State in California — said, at the very least, global events have created in her an even greater global awareness.
“A lot of people have much worse circumstances than anything I’m dealing with at all,” she said Tuesday. “It makes me feel lucky that I’m safe and healthy.”
Osland is back home in Kelowna on Day 5 of a self-imposed 14-day isolation. When the sporting world began shutting down a week ago, she was in Louisiana playing on the Symetra Tour.
The Symetra Tour is the main feeding system into the LPGA. It shut down and sent golfers scattering for the exits.
Osland arrived in Kelowna on March 12. She said she is thankful her journey home was uneventful.
“Actually, it was quite easy just because I kind of beat the rush of all the hectic travel advisories,” she said.
Like many others, Osland is now testing her resolve in quarantine. She’s working out as best she can at home, but does not have a golf-swing simulator and said she’s never been one to play virtual golf.
“I’ve never been a video game gal,” she said with a laugh. “I could get into it.”
That’s because already she’s anxious to get back onto the course. Her season was progressing quite well before everything hit the wall.
She enjoyed a fifth-place finish right before Christmas on the Cactus Tour in Arizona. After the holiday, she finished second in a tournament on that same mini-tour.
When she landed Down Under, she played the entire Austrlian Tour and posted a top-10 finish.
“It was really good,” she said. “It was a new experience for me to play out there.”
There wasn’t any smoke, and the tour was not stopped.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect. We didn’t have to deal with any smoke or any issues with the fires. Some of the courses had been dealing with drought conditions, but other than that it was great.”
Golf in Australia also helped keep her sharp.
“It’s actually really good. There’s girls who play Symetra Tour throughout the season who were there, and also a lot of girls who usually play the Ladies European Tour were playing there. It was really great competition. I really enjoyed it.”
It’s all in the hope Osland can reach and stay on the LPGA Tour. She’s played a handful of events at the top tier of women’s golf, including narrowly missing the cut last August at the Canadian Women’s Open. She’s played the Canadian twice on sponsor’s exemption, but also won her way to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open through a gruelling qualification, and missed the cut by just two strokes. She was reminded last summer in Aurora, Ont., at the Canadian that she can compete with the world’s best.
They hit the ball about the same as everyone else, Osland said, but the LPGA’s best can also zero in on the pin when it matters most.
“It helps me want to elevate my game even more,” she said. “I always get really motivated after seeing where I want to be.”
Now, she’s at home like most of us wondering what will happen next, and when.
“Obviously I’m hoping for some better things to come as well, but as of right now it’s just taking it day by day with this situation,” said Osland.
The Symetra Tour has sent players regular updates, but has cancelled events until at least April.
Not that she’s worried about it right at this moment.
“I’m very lucky that my situation is nothing compared to what a lot of people are dealing with right now,” she said. “Although I’m not playing golf, it’s just a game compared to all the other things going on.
“For all athletes, especially in a situation like this, you realize that sports are important, but the health and safety of everyone obviously takes precedence.”