Maguire: We’ll still have an incredible event, just one year later

Maguire: We’ll still have an incredible event, just one year later
Maguire: We’ll still have an incredible event, just one year later

Leona Maguire was hoping this summer’s Tokyo Olympics would be one of the highlights of her year but the Irish golfer is remaining positive about its postponement to 2021.

The LPGA rookie competed at Rio in 2016 while still an amateur as golf was reintroduced to the Summer Games.

“Counting down the days until I get to wear the green geansaí again,” the 25-year-old tweeted on March 17, in anticipation of reprising her role as an Irish Olympian, only for the IOC to bow to the inevitable and delay the Tokyo Games until July 2021 due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“It wasn’t a surprise,” Maguire said. “We’d heard rumblings for weeks beforehand and when a lot of the qualifiers started getting cancelled, that was a big indication for us.

“A lot of the sports wouldn’t be able to get their qualifying in before the deadline. Tokyo has put so much time and effort and money into the Games, for everybody’s sake, athletes, coaches, everybody, it was the right decision, we’ll still have an incredible event, just one year later.”

When the season does resume, the former women’s amateur world number one will do so as an early leader of the LPGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year standings following a tie for fourth at last month’s Vic Open in Australia. The absence of the Olympics, however, will punch a big hole in Maguire’s calendar.

“That was going to be one of the highlights of this year, definitely. I had an incredible experience in Rio, it was one of the highlights of my career, I was an amateur then, to go back this year as a pro. I would have loved to be there but at least now I’ve got another year to prepare and get ready and I’ll have more professional events under my belt by then.

“All of that hopefully can work in my favour and I’ll be as ready as I can be for next time around.”

In the meantime, Maguire is doing her best to stay as sharp as she can during the current shutdown of courses and practice facilities. Yet there is only so much a golfer can do and she admitted: “There’s definitely been quite a bit of Netflix, (although) I’m conscious of not running out of enough movies and shows so that when we do go back on the road, or there’ll be nothing to watch.

“I’m nearly finished the Tiger King documentary, I’ve been watching that. There’s been a lot of board games and card games going on here at home. It’s like those few days after Christmas, all the board games and cards coming out. Trying not to look at the news too much. Keeping an eye out for updates but at the same time trying not to check Twitter and the news too often. It is going to be a while before all of this passes so trying to stay sane.”

Having twin sister and former pro Lisa at home with her is another bonus during the lockdown.

“She’s working for Modest! Golf now, my management company. She travelled to a lot of the events earlier in the year with me, so it was nice to have her there. She’s also been planning my travel and all of that so she had quite a few hours to spend on the phone changing flights and hotels as my schedule was changing.

“It’s nice to have her here at home, now that I can have someone to hang out with and play little games against, to keep that sharpness, rather than being her by myself in a bubble.”

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