Testing including thermal readings and nasal swab or saliva exams is at the forefront of the PGA Tour’s Health & Safety plan as play is scheduled to resume next month, according to a 37-page memo sent to players on Tuesday.
Multiple levels of testing – including a pre-travel screening test sent to players and caddies – will be performed, according to the plan obtained by Golfweek. Players and caddies also will be tested upon arrival, likely at a host hotel, with daily questionnaire and temperature tests to follow.
Testing is required for competition.
The PGA Tour, which shut down March 12 after the first round of the Players Championship due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, hopes to restart June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The traditional pro-am is canceled.
“The integrity of the competition is of the utmost importance, and to that end nothing will be implemented in a way that detracts from that goal,” the plan said. “In implementing our testing plan, we will not do so in a manner that takes away from testing and medical resources in the communities in which we play or for affected groups in those communities.”
The first four events – the Charles Schwab Challenge, the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and the Rocket Mortgage Championship in Detroit – will be played without spectators.
The John Deere Classic in Illinois July 9-12 is the first event on the new schedule that could allow fans to attend.
Among other protocols
Who will be allowed at tournaments?
In addition to players and caddies, those who will be allowed to go to the event will be PGA Tour staff including rules and scoring officials, media officials, security and players relations, select ShotLink staff, and select tournament staff; clubhouse staff; volunteers; player caddie and services and starters; media; independent trainers; and coaches and instructors.
Who will not be allowed at tournaments?
Managers, agents and family members are not allowed on grounds.
What if someone tests positive?
Those who test positive will be required by federal, state and local health standards to isolate in a designated location for at least 10 days.
If a player tests positive after making the cut he will receive last-place earnings.
Test results can take two days
Currently, PCR nasal swab tests take 24-48 hours for results to come in. Those players waiting for the test results can still play and practice but will not have access to other onsite facilities.
Further access restrictions
There will be tighter access to player/caddie restricted areas and clubhouse access will be restricted only to those who have passed testing.
Safety equipment provided by the Tour
The PGA Tour will provide face covers/masks and disinfectant wipes for all personnel, volunteers, players and caddies. The Tour will cover the costs of the tests for players, caddies and essential staff.
The PGA Tour will provide a chartered flight from each tournament site to the next, but those flights will require players and caddies to submit to viral testing within 24 hours of departure. Only passengers who test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to board the flight.
How will players and caddies interact?
As for the play inside the ropes – yes, rope lines will be put in place – players and caddies will be encouraged to partake in social distancing measures. Players will be urged to remove and replace golf clubs from the golf bag. Players will get the ball out of the hole. Caddies will be allowed to rake bunkers and tend flagsticks, on condition they use sanitary wipes after use.