As the PGA Tour nears its June 11 return to the golf course, it has outlined the safety measures it will put in place to protect its players, caddies and workers during play.
Among the new regulations will be the 400 or so people involved in each stop of the tour being swab-tested before and after they fly to each location, as well as daily symptom and temperature checks, limitations on who is allowed into locker rooms, and the withdrawal of golfers who test positive.
Not even family members and coaches are expected to be allowed into lockers rooms, while media interviews will take place in a more spread-out environment, potentially even from separate rooms, as the UFC did in Jacksonville last weekend.
When it comes to where the players and their teams and families will stay during tournaments, the PGA will strongly recommend a handful of trusted nearby hotels that have put in place enhanced safety and sanitation measure. The PGA will, however, allow them also to stay at rental homes or in RVs “with guidance from the tour.”
The tour will also pay for all testing, sanitation wipes, thermometers, and face masks. It will defer to local laws when it comes to masks and other rules regarding movement. On the course, high-fives and the traditional post-round handshake will be prohibited.
Though the first month of events, beginning June 11 in Texas, is scheduled to not have fans, the John Deere Classic on July 9 is the soonest the PGA might have a gallery of socially distanced fans watching a tournament.
Said chief tournaments and competitions officer Andy Pazder: “We are not wedded to any specific date. Obviously, it’s going to be dependent on local, state and federal regulations that will largely dictate when we’re able to resume having some number of fans.”
Golf is naturally suited to weathering this storm because it takes place outdoors and is not a contact sport, but these PGA Tour events will still be seen as an important trial as other sports consider their plans.