PGA Tour outlines safety measures for return

The PGA Tour has detailed its health and safety plan for when it returns to action in June, in a 37-page document memo issued to players and staff.

The PGA announced recently it is planning to return to action in mid-June. Its first four events, in an ambitious revised schedule, will be played without fans present.

The organisation’s health and safety measuresinclude players and caddies performing pre-travel screening tests, being tested on arrival at events, then facing daily health questions and temperature checks. If a player’s temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on any day, he will be tested for Covid-19, via nasal swab or saliva exam.

Any player testing positive for the virus will be quarantined at a selected location for 10 days. If he tests positive during the tournament, after making the 36-hole cut, he will be paid last-place prize money.

On the course, players will retrieve their own golf balls from holes and are to manage their own clubs in and out of the bag. Caddies can tend flags and rake bunkers but must use sanitary wipes after doing so.

The plan addresses the possibility of events not going ahead. ESPN reported that it says: “While we believe we have created an extremely comprehensive health and safety plan, we will not play if we do not feel we can provide a safe and healthy environment for all constituents.”

Elsewhere in the golf world, the Korean LPGA is today resuming its 2020 tour. The KPLGA has issued strict health and safety parameters for the event, the 42nd KLPGA Championship, at Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, just north of Seoul.

Unlike the Korean tour, the PGA Tour will involve extensive travel. The organisation is arranging chartered flights and predetermined host hotels in an effort to contain movement and safely transport players and caddies to events. Each flight will be limited to 170 passengers, and all must submit to Covid-19 testing before departure. Only those who test negative can board the plane.

The PGA plan insists that the measures being taken will not use up public medical resources, saying: “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.”