May 19, 2020 / 7:31 AM / 6 days ago

China's Li focused on self improvement during COVID-19 shutdown

FILE PHOTO: Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 18, 2019 China's Li Haotong during the first round REUTERS/Ian Walton/File photo

(Reuters) - China’s Li Haotong says the disruption to the golf calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made him love the sport even more and he has been using the enforced break to iron out the flaws in his game.

The 24-year-old, who last year became the first mainland Chinese golfer to play in the Presidents Cup, has invested in fitness equipment and a golf simulator, and is also working on the mental side of the game after a disappointing 2019.

“I have conducted a review of my whole career and had a lot of talks with my family and friends, trying to find out where I can do better in the future,” Li said in a PGA Tour release.

“The more I think about it, the desire of getting back to play in tournaments grows. There’s one thing I’m certain that this shutdown would only make me love golf more.

“I’ve missed the cheering crowd, all my friends on tour and mostly the exciting feeling you get after making a nice shot during competition.”

Li slipped out of the top-50 last year and suffered two losses at the Presidents Cup in December.

“In the past, I’ve played some good rounds in major events but I would need to get that stability and be more mentally strong,” the world No. 87 said.

“I always wanted every shot to be perfect and apparently, that doesn’t help you when you’re not in the best condition. So, this is what I’m working on aside from my golf techniques.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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