Former PGA Tour player questions Tour’s return: ‘I don’t think anyone understands the real guidelines’

Ian Leggatt

Count at least one former PGA Tour player who believes the Tour’s decision to return from its coronavirus hiatus is not safe.

“Unless the world is safe, I don’t see how sport can be safe,” Ian Leggatt told “There are so many variables in place for this early a start, especially if we know this virus isn’t going away. Look at the states that will be holding events. I mean, you’re actually telling me that in Michigan, where they are just starting on the upswing of this pandemic, that they’re going to play a PGA Tour event at Detroit Golf Club in July? I’m not a big fan of where they’re heading. I don’t think anyone understands the real guidelines or how difficult this is going to be.”

On Thursday, the PGA Tour announced it would resume play on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, its first event since the first round of the Players Championship in mid-March. The Challenge and the three tournaments to follow will be played without fans, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said tournaments won’t begin until there is testing for players, caddies and constituents.

Leggatt, who played in Tour events from 1992 to 2009 and won the 2002 Tucson Open, wondered what would happen if someone tested positive.

“It will be an absolute nightmare, said Leggatt, who is now the director of golf at Summit Golf Club in Toronto and a golf analyst for Sportsnet. “If one does, that will be the end of it. … I would hate for anything to happen to any of those guys or anyone with the Tour. I think it would be devastating.”

Leggatt also questioned some of the logistics of playing in a tournament. Between the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Masters in November, events will be played in 26 cities, and most players will have to fly to the tournaments, get a car and stay in hotels or houses.

“No chance you can say I’m going to get on a plane, go to Fort Worth, Texas, jump in a courtesy car, go to the golf course, stay in my hotel or in a house and go back and forth every day and you tell me I’m going to be 100 percent safe. No chance,” he said. “Even without fans, there are still going to be dozens of people — caddies, scorekeepers, volunteers, PGA Tour staff — on site.”

Leggatt believed players would consider skipping tournaments. Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour’s chief tournament and competitions officer, said that players have that option, as they are independent contractors.

“Let’s say the top 30 in the world ranking go, ‘You know what, I’ll just skip this first six weeks. I’ll pass.’ I have this feeling there are going to be a lot of wives out there who are going to be having conversations like that with their husbands about what this means to their family,” Leggatt said. “Be interesting to see what Nick Taylor or Adam Hadwin do with new babies at home. These are smart people. The risk is not gone. No question there will be guys who wind up not putting themselves in harm’s way because of Covid-19.”

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.

Exit mobile version