Ohio’s governor OKs plan to allow limited number of fans as PGA Tour pegs Memorial for return of spectators
Approved: By Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a safety plan submitted by the Memorial Tournament to allow a limited number of fans at the PGA Tour event on July 16-19 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, according to a report Friday in The Columbus Dispatch. It would make the Memorial, scheduled for July 16-19, the first event on the PGA Tour’s revised schedule to allow fans. No more than 8,000 will be allowed, the Dispatch reported. The Tour resumes play this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, after a three-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Tour has banned fans at the first four tournaments. The fifth tournament will be a new event title-sponsored by Workday on July 9-12, which begins two consecutive weeks of play at Muirfield Village, Jack Nicklaus’ club near his boyhood home of Columbus. The Ohio government's approval also will allow fans to attend the first tournament on the LPGA’s revised schedule, the Marathon LPGA Classic, on July 23-26 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, according to a report in Toledo’s The Blade newspaper. The Marathon LPGA Classic will feature no grandstands, and fans will be undergo thermal screening upon entering the course and be encouraged to wear masks. Players and caddies will be tested for coronavirus upon arrival and after the 36-hole cut. Last month, Dan Sullivan, the Memorial’s tournament director, announced a plan to embed a chip in fans’ tournament badges to track movement on the grounds and help ensure social distancing among the attendees. Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott loosened restrictions to allow 50-percent capacity at outdoor events such as this week’s Colonial tournament, but the PGA Tour will maintain its ban on fans for the first four weeks of the restart. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told Doug Ferguson, the golf writer for The Associated Press, that no fans will be allowed through the Workday event. “We want to have a sustained return,” Monahan said Friday. “If you think about a run to go through the FedEx Cup, we want to make sure week to week we're not taking on unnecessary risk.”
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