Golf: Kiwi Denzel Ieremia hopes to contest Korn Ferry Tour amid COVID-19 uncertainty

Young Kiwi golfer Denzel Ieremia isn't sure what his immediate future holds, with travel restrictions and uncertainty around the COVID-19 crisis.

The 24-year-old was meant to head to the United States for the start of the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour in March, but when that departure was delayed, Ieremia opted to remain in Hamilton.

On Friday, the PGA Tour announced plans to resume all tournaments in June, with the first four played without spectators.

Just six Korn Ferry Tour events had been completed before the coronavirus shutdown and the next scheduled tournament will take place at the Sawgrass Dye Course at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

But whether Ieremia will make the first tee is unclear, due to strict travel controls around the world. He didn't feature in any of the previous events. 

"They're planning on getting back on June 11, which might be optimistic, but at least they've got a plan to try to get events on," he told Newshub. 

"I'm not sure if I'll be able to leave NZ or get into the States. We'll plan to be there and if it happens, it happens, and we'll deal with it, if things don't work out.

"I was itching to get back over to the States and compete. My game was good and I felt like I could win straight away. 

"You might lose some momentum, but this time is good to work on other things." 

Last week, respected commentator Frank Nobilo and PGA pro Tim Wilkinson both told Newshub that the June 11 restart date was unlikely, because the PGA wouldn't be able to carry out thorough COVID-19 testing.

Nobilo expressed concerns over safety and the logistics involved, with players and caddies based overseas, and US border restrictions still in place. 

Even though he's stuck in New Zealand, Ieremia has been making the most of his time back home. 

He's set up a rough practice facility in his back garden, which enables him to practice hitting golf balls into a bed sheet and work on a few technical aspects. 

"Everyone else in the same boat, so it's not like anyone is getting ahead. Everyone is just trying to stay safe and healthy.

"I've learnt lots over the last year and this time is nice to reflect on what I've learnt.

"Regardless, the goals stay the same. I want to play on the PGA Tour and the more I play on the Korn Ferry Tour, the better chance I have of achieving that."