Toxic smoke from bushfires choking Sydney blighted the Australian Open golf tournament Thursday with one player complaining his eyes were burning and he had trouble seeing where his ball landed.
The event, a warm-up for many on the International team at next week’s Presidents Cup, got under way with haze enveloping the course from fires burning out of control throughout New South Wales state.
Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya was the early clubhouse leader after hitting a six-under-par 65, with Matt Jones, the 2015 champion, two strokes behind.
Jones said the conditions, at the Australian Golf Club, were some of the worst he had encountered.
“I’m not sure what the forecast is, but the smoke’s not good at all. It’s tough to see your golf ball when you’re out there playing, where it finishes. Your eyes do burn,” he said.
“I’ve got that cough like you’ve got something in your lungs, phlegm in your lungs or whatever, but it’s not fun. I hope my kids are inside in the hotel room.”
On Thursday, Sydney’s air quality index registered levels of pollutants on a par with Beijing.
Asked if he had ever played in similar conditions, Jones said not even in China.
Australian Cameron Smith, who will be playing in Ernie Els’ Presidents Cup team at Royal Melbourne against the Tiger Woods-led Americans next week, was more diplomatic.
“It’s a bit odd, isn’t it, but what can you do?,” he said after shooting a 68.
“I haven’t really felt any different, it’s just kind of the look. But we’ll see after the four days, it might take a bit out of everyone, I’m sure.”
Golf Australia boss said Stephen Pitt said ahead of the tournament there would be ample medical staff on site.
Playing alongside Smith, fellow Australian and Presidents Cup player Marc Leishman carded a 69 while Mexican defending champion Abraham Ancer, also on Els’ team, could only manage 72.
Former Masters champions Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia and English drawcard Paul Casey, the world number 14 and highest-ranked player in the field, were all playing later on Thursday.
Trump supporter complains about being socially toxic: ‘People unfriend you’
Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro on Saturday complained about being judged by the content of her character.
"People unfriend you!' Pirro complained. "They don't want you to be a -- they don't want to communicate with you."
"People I've had at my wedding don't talk -- my children's weddings actually, they don't talk to me anymore," she explained.
"It's not usually the right or the left, I mean, the intolerance is on the left," she argued.
The longtime Trump friend was harshly criticized for her complaints. Here's some of what people were saying:
Trump disappointed conservative media isn’t praising him enough for letting Roger Stone walk: report
President Donald Trump has been disappointed in right-wing media for not giving him more credit for pardoning longtime advisor Roger Stone.
"A senior administration official said there were serious divisions among Trump’s aides and allies over Stone’s case, with some cautioning that keeping him out of prison could be politically risky. Among those opposed was Attorney General William P. Barr, who called the prosecution 'righteous' in an interview Wednesday with ABC News, the official said, adding that those pushing Trump to show loyalty to Stone included Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is close to the president," The Washington Post reported Saturday.
WATCH: GOP congressman suffers coughing fit — while praising Trump at mask-optional GOP convention
Republicans in the swing state of Wisconsin gathered in Green bay for a mask-optional convention on Saturday.
"Speakers at the convention also praised Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the president's push to reopen the nation's economy and schools. More than 300 people attended the GOP state convention, with few in attendance wearing face masks, as [recommended] by public health officials," the State Journal reported Saturday.