August 17, 2020
On Thursday, June 11, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour resumed, making it the first pro-league tour to occur since the COVID-19 pandemic. The PGA tournament was postponed on Thursday, March 12, amid health and safety concerns, but has returned with strict rules and regulations as to how to deal with the virus.
PGA officials stated that although no spectators would be allowed to view the tournament in person, the footage would be streamed live for people to watch from their own homes. The PGA Tour provided several resources to golfers and caddies, such as at-home testing kits and on-site gyms to minimize exposure and control the spread of COVID-19. There were also several detailed guidelines which participating golfers were expected to follow:
- If a golfer has tested positive for COVID-19 and experiences the symptoms, they must self isolate for 10 days per CDC guidelines. Then, they will be allowed to compete after their most recent test comes back negative.
- If a golfer has tested positive, but has not shown any symptoms, they must take two more tests, a minimum of 24 hours apart. If those come back negative, the golfer will be able to compete, because the initial test displayed a false positive.
- If a golfer tests positive, and they have not been following the PGA’s Participant Resource Guide, they will not be allowed to compete.
- Participants traveling through the charter plane sponsored by the Tour will have to get tested twice, both before and after they arrive.
PGA officials also announced that players and caddies were going to be kept in a “bubble” as they traveled for the tournament. They got tested before and after flights to ensure safety and ceased contact outside of the bubble. Officials revealed that there was a priority system for the number of plane seats available: All golfers got priority over caddies, and higher ranked golfers got first pick at seats.
The tournament ended on Sunday, August 9, with Collin Morikawa coming out on top as the champion. The 23-year-old’s victory made him one of the four youngest PGA Championship winners since during World War II in 1954.
The PGA has also expanded its platform to talk about more than just golf. In light of the recent Black Lives Matter movement, PGA commissioner Jay Monahan released a statement on Friday, June 5, regarding the murder of George Floyd and discussed how he spent a week reflecting on how the golf community could expand its reach and diversity. Some players, including Tiger Woods and Tony Finau, took to their personal social media accounts to support the movement.
It is clear that 2020 has brought some major changes to the PGA’s system and platform. Although the pandemic complicated the logistics of the PGA tournament, there was a silver lining: PGA officials reported that, because golf was the only professional sport being televised at the time of the tour’s opening, the number of people watching golf reached an all-time high. In consideration of the unusual circumstances, the 2020 PGA championship was a hole-in-one for the golf community.
More information on the season and its schedule can be found at the PGA Tour’s website.