Sports fans were given a little good news by the PGA yesterday. After golfers were forced to store their clubs and spikes because of the coronavirus, the PGA has put together a new schedule of events and will be ready to resume the PGA Tour this June. While the world waits and watches to see if the NBA, MLB and others will be able to pick up where they left off, it’s a little comforting to see that progress is being made and that the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to grow brighter.
The first event in the newly-updated schedule will be the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, which was initially planned for May 18-24. It will run from June 8-14 at the Colonial Country Club, and will be the first of five invitationals on the tour. Next up, Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island in South Carolina will host the second event, the RBC Heritage. Having been forced out of its May 25-31 slot, the event will take place July 2-5. These two events, as well as the Memorial Tournament, which will take place July 13-19, will have their fields opened up to 144 golfers in order to give more opportunities to PGA Tour members.
Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, explains of the schedule relaunch, “The health and safety of all associated with the PGA TOUR and our global community continues to be our No. 1 priority, and our hope is to play a role – responsibly – in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love. Today’s announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when – working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities – it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities.”
It’s not too surprising that golf would be able to bounce back sooner than other sports. It’s an individual’s game, in most cases, and doesn’t have to be concerned with close physical contact between groups of athletes – social distancing is essentially integrated into the game. However, it isn’t clear from the PGA Tour’s announcement if any type of quarantine, health precautions (such as mandatory facemasks) or coronavirus testing will be implemented in connection with the events.
In addition to the PGA Tour changes, three of the four majors have already been rescheduled – the fourth, the Open Championship, was removed from the board. The PGA Championship, the US Open at Winged Foot and the Masters will be held in August, September and November, respectively, and oddsmakers already have their favorite to win. Rory McIlroy, who sits on top of the golf leaderboard, is the clear leader and, if he is able to take down the Masters, which will be held at Augusta National in Georgia November 9-15, he will pick up a grand slam to solidify his position as the best golfer in the world.