DUBLIN, Ohio – PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked to guess when he thought fans could return to the PGA Tour.
“If I had to guess,” Monahan said with a smile as he bought some time to formulate his answer, as the commissioner isn’t into guessing games.
“We’re not going to have spectators and we’re not going to have pro-ams through the Tour Championship in Atlanta,” Monahan said Wednesday at Muirfield Village Golf Cub, home to the Memorial.
The Safeway Open in California Sept. 10-13 – the first event of the 2020-21 season – announced Monday fans wouldn’t be allowed to attend the tournament. Thus, the first event that could include fans is the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York Sept. 17-20.
“I know that the USGA continues to work with the state of New York and is making plans to return fans. If I had to guess, that would be the first week that we would do so,” Monahan said. “We’re spending a lot of time with each of the tournaments in the fall working on a number of different ways to stage the event, which includes full capacity, partial capacity, and obviously the way that we’re operating now, which is no spectators, and that will be largely dependent on what we hear from the communities where we play.”
This week’s Memorial is the sixth event since the PGA Tour returned in June after a 13-week break due to COVID. So far, the Tour has not seen any spikes in COVID cases like the rest of the country has. It has adjusted protocols for its safety and health bubble from week to week.
Two people – a caddie on the PGA Tour and a player on the Korn Ferry Tour – tested positive for the coronavirus this week..
“We’re now over 6,000 total tests that we’ve given to our constituents, and if you look at players and caddies on the PGA Tour or Korn Ferry Tour, we’ve had 21 positive tests, six players on both tours, three caddies on the PGA Tour and six caddies on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Monahan said.
That’s 0.0035 percent who have tested positive.
“You don’t want to have any, but I think as you look at where we are and the trends for our overall program, and again, the tightening that we’ve done, I think that the results are very good, and we’re certainly encouraged by that. We’re proud of that,” Monahan said. “I think our players deserve a ton of credit for not only what they’re doing here on-site in terms of social distancing and masking and being entirely aware of what we need to do when we’re on property, but also as I’ve gone market to market seeing players in hotels and other places, I think we’re executing a plan that we set out, and we’re confident that if we continue to do that we’re going to be in a really good place as we go forward.”