First-year men’s golfer Pietro Bovari had just posted the best finish of the season, placing fourth at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, when the Hoos’ spring season was cancelled due to COVID-19. When the University canceled in-person classes, Bovari made the decision to return to Italy to shelter with his family in Milan, Italy.
Q: You made the decision to return to your family in Italy. That had to be a difficult decision.
Bovari: I chose to come back to my family because, in hard times like these, I feel like it’s fundamental to stay together. It was also a choice based on a worst-case scenario. What if any of us gets sick? I thought it’d be better to stay close and get through this together.
Q: What were your impressions of the conditions when you arrived in Italy?
Bovari: It honestly looked and felt like a war zone at first. Little to no people out and everyone in masks. I live in Milan and I’ve never seen a big city this empty.
Q: Based on your time back in Italy, what would you recommend to anyone in the U.S.?
Bovari: Take this seriously. As soon as cases show up in your area take precautions, don’t touch your face if you haven’t sterilized your hands. Act like everything around you is wet and you are made of paper. If it feels like you’re over doing it, but you’re doing it right.
Q: Describe where you were when you learned the season was canceled and your reaction.
Bovari: I was in my car driving towards my dorm room. I immediately called a couple of my teammates. We all shared the same confusion but ultimately, we had seen this coming. I think the best way to describe the feeling is disappointment mixed with a feeling of impotence.
Q: What is it like to take your remote classes?
Bovari: It’s definitely different, I think it’s probably going to take a while to adjust but I’ll figure it out eventually (hopefully). Taking classes remotely definitely will make me grow as a student since it takes a completely different approach.
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated?
Bovari: I keep myself wanting to train and get better even when I’m locked in my house with the knowledge that this is a “break” for everyone. You can decide whether you want to come out worse than you were or better. I’d like to come out better.
Q: How are you staying in touch with your teammates?
Bovari: I’m mostly texting my teammates daily and video calling some of them once every week.
Q: What are you doing with your spare time?
Bovari: I definitely have a lot more spare time. I’m spending more time in the gym than I would. I’m also spending some time playing cards with my family and really making the most out of this time together.
Q: You had a great start to your college career. How do you feel your first season of college golf was going when the season was canceled?
Bovari: I had just come out of a couple of good tournaments. I was feeling confident and had some good sensations. I’m trying to keep them as vivid as possible through this break.
Q: What do you enjoy most about playing at UVA?
Bovari: The atmosphere that my teammates create is just awesome. I’ve never felt such positivity and drive in any other environment in my career.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about the overall college experience?
Bovari: Being on Grounds, just the atmosphere of walking on the Lawn on a weekday through classes.
Q: How do you work on your golf game considering the limitations in Italy?
Bovari: I’ve got an eight-foot by eight-foot net in my living room so that I can at least hit up to an 8-iron off a mat. Other than that, just lots of putting.
Q: Everyone misses their mom’s cooking. What was the first thing she made for you when you got home?
Bovari: Some saffron risotto and a cotoletta, which is a breaded veal.
NOTE: Bovari is not the only UVA student-athlete from Italy. Click here to read Jeff White’s feature from Wednesday on men’s basketball player Tomas Woldetensae, who elected to stay in Charlottesville at this time and Thursday’s Q/A with first-year women’s golfer Virginia Bossi.