PGA Tour will allow fans back at a U.S. event the week before the Masters

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele hits a shot as Justin Rose and fans watch during the Players Championship in March.

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Golfers have been playing on the PGA Tour since mid-June after a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus. 

Fans will watch them again in the U.S. starting early next month. 

The Houston Open will allow 2,000 fans each day of the Nov. 5-8 tournament, Tour, tournament and City of Houston officials said Friday night. It will be the first Tour event in the U.S. with fans since the first round of the Players Championship, and the second Tour event overall, following the Bermuda Championship the week before. It is also the last tournament before the Masters, the year’s third and final major, which is playing without patrons.

“We are very happy that we will have fans at Memorial Park for this year’s Houston Open,” said Giles Kibbe, president of the Astros Golf Foundation, in a Tour release. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the City of Houston, Dr. David Persse (chief medical officer for the City of Houston) and the PGA Tour for working with us in developing a thorough health and safety plan that has enabled this to occur.

“The health and safety for all on property at Memorial Park and the City of Houston is our highest priority as we welcome members of the community to the newly renovated venue and to watch the best players in the world compete.”

All fans, volunteers and essential personnel will be required to wear a mask, except when eating and drinking, the release said. Additional guidelines will be announced later.  

At the Tour Championship in early September, Kevin Kisner, a member of the Tour’s policy board, said he hoped that fans could return at the start of the new year. 

“I think we will transition to spectators as soon as we feel like we have a good plan that the players are comfortable with,” Kisner said. “We need the fans back. Without the fans, the tournaments aren’t the same. The revenues aren’t the same. We need them back. All of us want to play in front of fans. We appreciate the buzz that the fans create. We appreciate having people applauding for our golf shots other than the one or two volunteers on a hole.”

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