Celebration tee-off as lockdown eases

James Scott COVID-19 survivor was given the honour of restarting golf at Glencruitten with Oban pro Bob MacIntyre Oban. Photo by Kevin McGlynn

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Scotland’s top golfer Bob MacIntyre and COVID-19 survivor James Scott hit the first tee shot at Glencruitten today since the course went into lockdown.

The 2019 European Tour Rookie of the Year joined 63-year-old Mr Scott  to officially reopen the course earlier today, May 29.

Mr Scott, whose mum Jessie died from coronavirus – has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000 towards a special infection control room at Lorn and The Islands Hospital.

The granddad, whose been a member of Glencruitten Golf Club for eight years,  spent 38 days in hospital because of the virus and was put in an induced coma for more than two weeks.

He said: ‘I’m doing really well with my recovery. I have made a miraculous recovery, to be honest. Everyone is saying to me that I am the miracle man. I don’t feel like the miracle man, I feel like a lucky man. I came through this very well all things considered, with the amount of time I was on the ventilator.

‘Being able to come up here today and even hit a ball, I didn’t think I would ever be able to do that again, especially when I came off the ventilator and out of high dependency when I had no strength at all. So I am coming on now and hopefully in another few months I will be able to hit the ball a bit better – but I did manage to hit the ball today and I am happy with that.

‘I have got to give all my thanks to Oban hospital, the paramedics and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. They were absolutely fantastic, they saved my life.’

So far his Justgiving page to help fund a negative pressure room for Oban hospital is going well, he said.

‘People are really generous and I think they would like to see Oban have this negative pressure room. It’s going to help anybody who goes in there because the room itself will be ventilated so there is no danger of anything they have got escaping from the room at all. It gets filtered through. So it’s going to make a big difference to the people who are working there, for the National Health Service, who are doing fantastic work. I think it’s a worthy cause. Being a rural place, Oban doesn’t get as much funding as anywhere else, so hopefully this will maybe help a bit,’ he added.

He was also ‘absolutely honoured and so humble’ when Glencruitten’s club captain George Mackenzie invited him to join Bob MacIntyre to take the first tee-shot.

‘I said it would be an absolute pleasure, and it has been. The course is looking fantastic. Dougie the greenkeeper, Robert’s dad, has done an excellent job and to be able to hit a ball off with Robert MacIntyre as well makes me feel so good. He is a lovely boy. I have known him since he was young and he was always good at golf. It’s so nice and great to have the honour of doing this today,’ he added.

When Oban pro Mr MacIntyre was asked what it meant to him, joining Mr Scott today, he said: ‘ To see a survivor of this disease, it’s bigger than golf. It’s more a mark of respect for James and the Scott family. This town has brought everyone up to show respect and I felt like when I got asked, it was something that I had to do. I have been brought up to respect others and if someone is struggling you get behind them and give them a boost. Hopefully this has done that for James today.’

He said he also hoped the reopening of golf courses in Scotland would help bring more positivity to people adding : ‘The whole country is going to take a boost I think from golf but we have still got to stay safe and keep our distance from folk. This is still a serious danger to everyone. Some people don’t see it affecting them but it can get anyone, as we have seen with James and unfortunately Jessie. It’s just about staying safe, keeping your distance and getting on with life.’

To donate to James’ fundraising, visist www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jessie-james-scott