PGA Tour restarts next week without fans, and under strict COVID-19 guidelines

Amid the chaos in the US, the PGA Tour is scheduled to tee off again next week under strict COVID-19 guidelines and without fans.

The PGA Tour tees off again next week with a strong field for the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas.

The world’s top-5 golfers; Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson will all be teeing it up in Fort Worth for the first PGA Tour event since The PLAYERS Championship was cancelled after two rounds in March.

Ahead of the event, all players have been issued with a 34-page “Participant Resource Guide” that documents health and safety guidelines including daily health reporting and temperate readings.

Golf Australia Magazine reported that self-screening must begin a week before the tournament, and while COVID-19 testing is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged.

The self-screening process includes a daily questionnaire and temperature readings. Any participant who tests positive at a tournament will only receive a stipend from the PGA Tour if they took an at-home test before travelling and tested negative.

“Without a vaccine, we know that we cannot mitigate all risk whether at work or in our daily lives. However, the plan we are implementing is designed to reduce the risk as much as possible,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in the guide.

“We all look forward to a return to normalcy, and that day will come. In the meantime, we ask that you embrace the necessary measures outlined in this document for the safety of everyone in our PGA Tour family.”

Brian Wacker at Golf Digest outlined some of the procedures for testing at PGA Tour events and the steps taken when someone test positive in the middle of a tournament.

The Tour said in the document that results should be available in a “matter of hours,” but conceded that in some cases that might not be possible. While awaiting results, players will have access to the golf course and practice facility but not the locker room or clubhouse. Once a negative test is confirmed, players will be issued a wristband or lanyard that will give them access to the locker room and clubhouse.

The resource guide also further clarified what will happen should someone test positive during a tournament. That person will be quarantined and provided medical care, while the Tour will initiate a “disinfecting/decontaminating response” and medical personnel conduct contact tracing.

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