The Players Championship will continue behind closed doors
The Players Championship is set to be played behind closed doors for the remainder of the tournament. The PGA Tour’s key event got underway earlier today and it will now be played without spectators on days two, three and four. The Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor will follow suit.
However no decision has been taken on the year’s first major championship the Masters.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “At this point in time, PGA Tour events will continue as scheduled, but without fans.”
The PGA Tour confirmed it was monitoring the situation and announced ahead of the opening round that they would be in discussions with local health administrations.
“The PGA TOUR is aware of rapidly changing developments regarding COVID-19. With the information currently available, THE PLAYERS Championship will continue as scheduled, although we will absolutely continue to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and local health administrations,” the statement read.
“This is obviously a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication and transparency, and we are dedicated to all three aspects. The PGA TOUR will provide an additional update by 12 p.m. ET on Thursday.
“In the meantime, players in the field have been notified to be prepared to play Round 1, as scheduled.”
PGA Tour announce that the Players will go ahead without fans
The Masters is scheduled for Thursday 9 April – until Sunday 12. However with the sporting calendars of other sports being thrown into crisis it is hard to predict what will happen next.
At the moment the Masters remains likely to go ahead without fans, as they don’t rely on ticket money to turn a profit, but if things escalate further in America then that could change.
US President Donald Trump has banned people flying into the country from Europe – other than the UK and Ireland for now – amid fears of the pandemic spreading further.
And Monahan admits he spoke with the President before making the decision to continue.
He said: “Let me preface my remarks by reinforcing that the health and safety of our players, employees, partners, volunteers, fans and everybody associated with the PGA TOUR is our top priority.
“I’ve spoken to President Trump this morning, and I spoke to Governor Ron DeSantis a few hours ago as well. Our team is in constant communication with local health authorities in each market in which our tournaments are played, and we are tracking and monitoring the health information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization in addition to the travel advisories provided by the U.S. State Department. Both the White House and the Governor’s office have been and are supportive of the precautionary measures we have taken to this point.
“It goes without saying that this is an incredibly fluid and dynamic situation. We have been and are committed to being responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process.
“With that as pretext, at this point in time, PGA TOUR events – across all Tours – will currently proceed as scheduled, but will do so without fans. This policy starts at THE PLAYERS Championship tomorrow (Friday) and continues through the Valero Texas Open. It’s important to note, that could change, but for the time being, this decision allows the PGA TOUR, our fans and constituents to plan, prepare and respond as events develop.
“Further, the recently announced travel advisories and potential logistical issues associated with players and staff traveling internationally limit our ability to successfully stage the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. Therefore, we are going to postpone that event and will provide details in the coming weeks on a reschedule as this situation develops.
“We will continue THE PLAYERS with essential personnel only, and we will be in direct conversations with those groups (vendors, broadcasters, media, player support groups, essential volunteers) to provide instructions.
“This is a difficult situation, one with consequences that impact our players, fans and the communities in which we play. As I said earlier this week, we’ve had a team in place that has been carefully monitoring and assessing the situation and its implications for several weeks. We’ve weighed all the options, and I appreciate the input and collaboration across the TOUR, our industry, our partners and our members that got us to this point. We’ll continue with that collaboration, and I want to thank our fans for supporting the PGA TOUR.”
In tennis the ATP has announced a six-week suspension while the NBA has been postponed and the start of the F1 season in Australia has been cancelled.
The Premier League remains scheduled to go ahead although they could play matches behind closed doors.
Leicester City today confirmed three players were in quarantine after complaining of symptoms.