PGA Tour will return to competition next week in Texas after a 3-month suspension of play because of the coronavirus pandemic
It’s June, a month that will bring more progression in golf amid the post-coronavirus world. The PGA Tour will be back next week. And because of the three-month shutdown, many of the world’s top players will be teeing it up at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, next week at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Golf has an unprecedented opportunity to lead our sports world back to a sense of normalcy. A game that normally relies on the relevance of Tiger Woods for high ratings now will be among the first professional sports leagues to begin play again and likely stand out to a much wider audience than before. To help ensure a successful return to competition, the Tour has issued guidelines for players and volunteers in order to make for a successful tournament week.
Even with no fans attending the tournament, the hope is to create a “bubble” for players and those associated with the event by isolating them from the general public and encouraging social-distancing measures on and off the course.
For on-course personnel:
* Will undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction swab, known as an RT-PCR swab, or saliva test before the tournament, with results returned within 48 hours. (Players and caddies traveling to the tournament on the PGA Tour’s chartered flight will undergo a pre-travel test as well.)
* While awaiting results, players and caddies may go onsite for practice and play but will not be able to access facilities such as the clubhouse or other inside spaces.
* After the initial test, there will be daily questionnaires and temperature screenings.
* In the event of a positive test, the Tour said the individual would be isolated immediately and required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. (If a player tests positive after making the cut, he will be barred from completing the tournament and receive last-place earnings.)
* Along with the testing measures, the Tour will limit the number of people on the grounds. No family members will be allowed to attend the tournament, and players will be allowed only limited support personnel such as trainers and swing coaches.
* The Tour is chartering a flight and encouraging non-local players to travel on it. The chartered flight will have passengers using every other seat.
* The Tour will be issuing players a “resource guide,” which will detail what is expected of them on and off the course. If off-site protocols are not followed, players will be subject to the PGA Tour’s disciplinary process.
* Limit total number of media.
* Workspaces spread out in acceptable social-distance manner.
* Direct access to ShotLink via personal computers.
* Media allowed on course but outside of the gallery ropes.
* No access inside the ropes, in the practice areas or locker rooms.
* No pre-round partner interviews.
* No local radio stations broadcasting live.
Responsibilities for the PGA Tour and/or Charles Schwab Challenge:
* Tour will provide all face covers/masks and disinfectant wipes on property for all personnel, volunteers, players and caddies.
* Tour will cover the costs of all testing for players, caddies and essential staff.
* Tour will provide thermal scanning equipment to be used at all tournament entrances.
* Charles Schwab Challenge will provide all hand sanitizer stations (contactless), pump bottles and travel bottles on property.
* Charles Schwab Challenge will be responsible for the overall health, safety and hygiene plan on property in consultation with the Tour.
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