Another pro sport is coming back amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The PGA Tour will be back next month starting with the Charles Schwab Challenge, but how will the tour officials make sure participants are safe?
The first four tournaments will have no fans attending the Charles Schwab Challenge, the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Michigan, ESPN reported.
Brooks Koepa, Rory McIlroy and Brendon Todd are expected to be at the Charles Schwab Challenge when it is played June 11-14 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, according to PGA Tour reports.
The first in-person spectators are expected to line the links for the John Deere Classic in Illinois, but that could change.
PGA Tour officials issued a memo to players that outlines what steps will be followed to resume play.
The plan took two months to create, according to the PGA.
There will be testing including:
- Thermal readings
- Nasal-swab or saliva tests
- Pre-travel screenings
If anyone has a high temperature, they will be looked at by a tournament physician who can have the person tested for COVID-19, the PGA said.
If a player tests positive, they must withdraw and quarantine, but they do not have to disclose why they would not be playing, Golf Week reported. Tour officials expect to need about 400 exams per week, ESPN reported.
Travel will be different than it had been in the past. Charter flights will be booked with players and caddies getting first chance at the seats. Players will pay $600 each. Caddies will pay $300. Players can also drive, fly by private plane or commercial flight. They will also have to be tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of departure, according to ESPN.
There will be one or more central hotels for players and caddies where the daily testing will happen and where they will be expected to be when they’re not playing golf.
Caddies and players will keep at least 6 feet between them, and players will take and return clubs from bags themselves. Caddies will wipe down clubs, flagsticks and rakes with provided sanitation materials.
If a player or caddy does not abide by the set rules they may be penalized.
The players won’t totally be alone, despite not having spectators lining the course. The PGA Tour staff, officials, security, media relations, volunteers, trainers and members of the media will be among those allowed at the venues. Family members, managers and agents, however, will not be, ESPN reported.