Report: PGA Tour could return this summer without fans in attendance
The PGA Tour hopes to return to play before the rescheduled majors in the fall, and now it’s reportedly preparing its players’ for what a season restart might entail.
Golf Channel obtained a memo that was sent to Tour players on Thursday which offers some insight into exactly what the Tour is planning for the rest of the season. According to the report, whenever tournaments resume this year they could occur “with or without fans” in attendance.
Conducting sports events without fans in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus is not a new idea. The NBA, for example, played some games in empty stadiums before season was officially suspended in early March. In fact, the PGA Tour planned to conduct the final three rounds of this year’s Players Championship without spectators, but the tournament was eventually canceled before those rounds occurred.
In addition, the Tour used the memo to assure players that they will provide them with at least three to four weeks of advance notice before play resumes. The Tour expressed its understanding that travel restrictions and some players’ inability to practice due to virus-related shutdowns complicate a return, writing that they “want to be able to give you as much time as possible to allow you to come back fully prepared,” according to Golf Channel’s report.
An exact date for the Tour’s return is still unknown, although the memo did shed a little more light on the Tour’s thinking. The next tournament on the original schedule that has not been canceled or postponed is the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.
The first round is supposed to begin on May 21, but the Tour’s memo stated that it was unlikely play would resume that soon, and they “are evaluating other options that allow us to preserve the maximum number of events we can while giving us more time as the crisis evolves.”
Earlier this week, golf’s governing bodies unveiled a tentative new schedule for the majors and FedEx Cup Playoff events. The PGA Championship is the first tournament on the revised schedule, Aug. 6-9 at TPC Harding Park. The PGA is followed by the Wyndham Championship and the three Playoff events in the ensuing weeks, with the Tour Championship concluding Sept. 7.
Then the revised major calendar would resume with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot (Sept. 17-20), the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits (Sept. 25-27) and finally the Masters on Nov. 12-15.
The tour plans to meet with the Players Advisory Council next week to discuss all potential plans for the remainder of the season.
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