PGA Tour targets June return without spectators
The PGA Tour has announced it is planning to return to action in mid-June, with the initial four events in an ambitious revised schedule due to be played without spectators, reports sportsbusiness.com.
The first planned event back on the men’s golf tour is the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11 to 14 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
If government and health authorities allow all events to take place – which includes an Asian swing in October – the PGA Tour will play every week through Thanksgiving. It remains unclear how many events will be allowed to include spectators.
In a series of moving pieces, the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the Memorial Tournament have been shifted to later dates in the calendar, while the RBC Canadian Open and Barbasol Championship have been called off.
Meanwhile, in a twist, RBC Heritage has been added back on the schedule after initially being canceled in March.
The indefinite closure of the Canadian-United States border, plus the 14-day quarantine restrictions on travelers in addition to other local restrictions, made it impossible to continue with the RBC Canadian Open as planned.
“Our hope is to play a role – responsibly – in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.
Monahan is one of numerous US sports league commissioners and senior executives named to a federal government committee that will advise US president Donald Trump on lifting commercial and societal restrictions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The ongoing health crisis has affected all the men’s golf major championships, with the Open Championship cancelled for the first time since World War II and the other tournaments reshuffled.
The US Open has been officially postponed from June 16 to 19 until September 17 to 20. It will still be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.
The PGA of America recently announced that the previously postponed PGA Championship is now scheduled to take place from August 6 to 9 and will remain at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. Meanwhile, Augusta National has identified November 12 to 15 as the intended slot to host The Masters.
The Ryder Cup remains as originally scheduled for September 25 to 27 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. It means the US Open and Ryder Cup will be played in back-to-back weeks, assuming all events go ahead as planned.
PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh revealed earlier this week that he is prepared to stage the PGA Championship without spectators, if health authorities demanded it.
“The plan is to do it as normally as possible – with fans, obviously – and have a fairly normal PGA Championship at Harding Park,” Waugh told Sirius XM Radio. “If the safest way and/or the only way to do it is without fans, we’re fully prepared to do that.”
Meanwhile, the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson event will move to TPC Craig Ranch in the Dallas area for the next five years, beginning in 2021. The Greenbrier will also no longer be part of the PGA Tour schedule “per a mutual agreement.”
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