‘Daunting’ and ‘scary’: Colonial tournament director prepares for PGA Tour’s first event

April 17, 2020

The new PGA Tour schedule is out, the Charles Schwab Challenge is officially on the clock.

Tournament director Michael Tothe is well aware.

“It’s scary,” Tothe said on Thursday when joining the Freddie and Fitzsimmons Show on ESPN Radio. “It’s daunting because I want to make sure we do it right. I know the PGA Tour wants to make sure they do it right, so I hope we’re a benchmark and I hope we’re an opportunity for people to get back to normal.”

The Tour released its revised summer schedule on Thursday, about two weeks after a series of other major announcements, which included new dates for the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open and the cancellation of the Open Championship.

Among the changes announced on Thursday were new dates for the Charles Schwab Challenge. Originally scheduled for May 21-24 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, it will now be rescheduled for June 8-14 at the same location. (No fans will be allowed.)

The PGA Tour’s unveiling of its new schedule was big news not just for pro golf, but sports in general. It became the first major sports league in America to target a return date. And Colonial is up first.

“You’re on one side of the razor’s edge of having the opportunity to come back to sports, regain life a little bit, watch some golf, be outside, host the best players in the world,” Tothe said. “Then the other side of the razor is there’s a lot going on still with the economy and our care workers and people suffering from COVID-19, so it brings you back to the center. But I think golf’s just a little bit different, and we’re going to take the steps necessary to make sure that if we have that opportunity, we’re going to do it right in Fort Worth.”

Fort Worth has a shelter-in-place order through April 30.

“If we’re able to determine that we can conduct the Charles Schwab Challenge and subsequent events in compliance with all health regulations, local, state and federal health regulations, and if we’re comfortable that our protocol, testing protocol and on-site procedures give us a confidence level, we’re going to proceed with our tournaments,” said Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour’s chief tournaments and competitions officer. “We will not conduct our tournaments if the answers to those previous questions aren’t yes.”

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