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PGA of America ‘fully prepared’ to hold PGA Championship even if fans aren’t allowed

April 15, 2020

If the PGA Championship is able to be played on its new August dates at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the PGA of America is “fully prepared” that it could go on without fans.

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh joined SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio on Tuesday to discuss the PGA Championship and more, and he said the event’s new August date “feels pretty good to us.”

“We’re very hopeful for that date. Our plan is to try to do it as kind of normally as possible if you will, with fans, obviously, and have a fairly normal PGA Championship at Harding Park,” he said. “If the safest way, and/or the only way to do it is to do it without fans, we’re fully prepared to do that. We believe that having it as a television event is worth doing regardless of whether there’s fans there or not. Obviously that’ll change the experience, but we think the world is starved for some entertainment, and particularly in sports.”

Waugh added that golf’s “unique ability” to be played over hundreds of acres is conducive to social distancing.

“We think that if we had to stage it with no fans that we can get somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000-ish people on the property and that if testing is available that you’d be able to do that in a safe and responsible way and get it done,” he said.

Still, there are challenges ahead. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked earlier this month if he thought the NFL season would open in August or September with fans and said “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state.

“Plan A is with fans. Plan B is without fans. Plan C, if California or San Francisco does not believe they could hold it, we’d have to figure out a drop dead date on that and figure out if there is somewhere in the country that could hold it,” Waugh said. “It makes it simpler if there aren’t fans to think about things like that. We don’t certainly have a Plan C right now, but we’d be prepared to think about that if that became a possibility. So we’re going to do everything we can to play the PGA Championship this year.”

The PGA Tour announced last week that three of the four 2020 majors had been postponed, one of which was the PGA Championship, which was originally supposed to be held on May 14-17. The U.S. Open is now scheduled for Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot in New York, and the Masters has been moved to Nov. 9-12. (The Open Championship was canceled.)

The next scheduled event on the PGA Tour is the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 21-24, although the Tour sent a memo to players saying it was unlikely play would resume that soon.

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