PGA Tour won’t allow fans at Memorial Tournament after all

The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, was to be the first event in the PGA Tour’s restart to include fans, albeit in limited numbers. That plan changed on Monday when the Tour announced that the event would instead go off without fans – like the previous four events played over the past month – and also without a pro-am.

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio had approved the Memorial Tournament’s plan to allow fans on-site in mid-June. Tournament officials announced several elements of their COVID-19 activation protocols designed to allow for a 20 percent maximum capacity on property, which included fans and private venues, as well as essential staff needed to operate the Tournament.

Tournament director Dan Sullivan and his staff had established safety protocols for a maximum of 8,000 fans per day that included temperature readings at the gates, the wearing of masks and viewing areas set up on each hole that restricted the number of spectators able to watch.
According to USA Today reporting, Ohio has 57,150 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,911 deaths. Over the past seven days, 6,841 new cases have been reported, up 24.4 percent from the previous week.

“The Memorial Tournament team, led by Dan Sullivan, worked exhaustively on a plan that the Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, as well as other local, county and state leaders were comfortable with, confident in, and applauded,” tournament host Jack Nicklaus said.  “We had a good plan in place, and I could not be more proud of everyone who contributed to it. In the end, we have the responsibility to recognize the health and safety of the players and all who attend the Memorial Tournament. We, in partnership with Nationwide and the PGA Tour, will now focus on presenting the best-possible Memorial Tournament we can for the players and for the many fans watching at home and around the world on Golf Channel and CBS.”

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also applauded the original plan in a Monday press release and acknowledged the work it took to compile.

“But given the broader challenges communities are facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to stay focused on the No. 1 priority for our Return to Golf — the health and safety of all involved,” he said. “While this was a difficult decision, it was one made collectively, and we are appreciative of the process undertaken to this point that will allow us to welcome on-site fans when the time is right.”

Many players were arriving in Dublin, Ohio, on Monday for a two-week swing that starts with this week’s new Workday Charity Open, a new event that was always going to be played without fans.

If the Memorial had gone on with fans in attendance as planned, it would have been the only event to allow fans through at least mid-August.

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