Florida is a well-known hotbed of professional golfers. And while many players are currently in Jackson, Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship, their hearts have returned home.
Over the past 24 hours, Hurricane Yang has devastated Florida, causing widespread flooding and cutting off power to 2.5 million Florida residents. President Joe Biden said during a Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing Friday that this could be “the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history.”
Hayden Buckley is one of the Florida residents who play in the Sanderson Farms Championship. Although this week’s event is his home event, the Mississippi native currently lives in Fort Myers, Florida, one of the storm’s epicenters.
“I’m lucky that I live quite far inland,” Buckley said after the 1-under-71 tournament opened. I don’t think our house was flooded. We are very lucky, but there are many people who are not so lucky. so hopefully everyone is safe. I may be back next week or next, depending on the schedule. Hopefully, when I get back, they will start to recover.”
Despite the fact that Buckley was lucky, the natural disaster still weighed heavily on his thoughts.
Full Sanderson Farms Championship Results
“I’m also getting married there in two months,” he said, “so hopefully things clear up a bit. This is a difficult situation. Dude, I watched this yesterday morning. bye. It’s really hard to understand.”
Understandably, knowing what was going on at home, the 26-year-old had a hard time focusing during Thursday’s round.
“You are trying to block everything you can,” he said, “but the reality is that either I am going home in the next few weeks and my house is there, or it is not. I have never experienced anything like this while living in Northern Mississippi. We are very lucky Me and my fiancée talked about this yesterday and we just hope everyone is there.
“We have wonderful neighbors who look after our house when we are not at home. It’s tough, but I think I did a good job of focusing on what I can do when I’m not at home. make a few calls to the neighbors and make sure everything is ok and just hope everyone is doing well.”
Rookie Kevin Roy, who became T-4 after opening 68, was another player who was worried about the state of his house as he embarks on a quest for his first Tour victory at CC of Jackson. The 32-year-old was glued to the news yesterday and, like Buckley, said he found it difficult to block what was happening at home. However, his home in Tampa escaped major debris.
“I think we dodged a pretty good bullet,” Roy said. “I think we lost some electricity, we lost some trees, but we didn’t have a flood, which was big. I took some pictures this morning while warming up. There are a lot of broken power lines and all that. family, our houses and all that, everything is fine.”
Over the next three days, many players will have to balance their efforts to win the golf tournament while keeping their thoughts and prayers at home.