PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Even with the uneasy specter of coronavirus spreading globally and even within the wake of each main sporting league and group suspending operations, The Players Championship will carry on — with gamers however no spectators — by means of its scheduled 4 rounds.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan introduced Thursday that The Players in addition to the subsequent three tournaments before the Masters (Valspar, WGC March Play and Valero Texas Open) can be performed, however with none spectators allowed onto the grounds.
That begins with Friday’s second spherical of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and can proceed by means of the Valero Texas open, the final Tour occasion before the Masters.
The organizers of The Masters, which is scheduled to start the week of April 6, haven’t introduced something publicly about their plans.
With the opening spherical of The Players underway and with spectators on the golf course, Monahan known as a midday press convention to announce these proceedings, saying he had spoken with President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier within the day.
“Our crew is in fixed communication with native well being authorities in every market through which our tournaments are performed, and we’re monitoring and monitoring the well being data offered by the CDC and the World Health Organization as well as to the journey advisories offered by the U.S. State Department,’’ Monahan mentioned. “Both the White House and the Governor’s workplace have been and are supportive of the precautionary measures we’ve taken to this level. It goes with out saying that that is an extremely fluid and dynamic state of affairs.
“At this time limit PGA Tour events throughout all excursions will at the moment proceed as scheduled however will achieve this with out fans,’’ Monahan went on. “This coverage begins at The Players Championship [Friday] and continues by means of the Valero Texas Open. It’s essential to notice that might change.’’
Asked why the Tour has opted to proceed play relatively than droop the schedule because the NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB and the NCAA Tournament have finished, Monahan mentioned, “If you take a look at our venues, clearly we’re an out of doors sport, we’re not in a stadium, and right here this week at TPC Sawgrass our gamers are making their approach over 400 acres.
“And … due to the character of that and the truth that you’ve received 144 gamers right here and over the course of a spherical our gamers typically do socially distance themselves, we felt like by taking this step to tackle the issue with our fans, we’re able the place we are able to proceed to function the events as of proper now.
“I believe it’s pure to really feel strain to do what others have finished,’’ Monahan added. “I believe you will have to take a look at what’s distinctive to your sport relative to what others have finished, and I believe our sport is exclusive, notably given the venues the place we host our tournaments.’’
So, starting Friday, golf goes to have a weird, totally different look with no spectators lining the fairways and greens.
“I’ve by no means performed a Tour occasion like we’re going to play [Friday] with no fans,’’ Phil Mickelson mentioned. “It can be a really bizarre expertise, and I really feel unhealthy for the folks right here which have supported this event for thus many a long time to not have the ability to come on out. But it is a fairly severe factor that we’d like to do all we are able to to guarantee that folks don’t lose lives over it that we are able to stop.’’
Patrick Cantlay mentioned, “I believe it will likely be bizarre and it will likely be a little bit spooky on the market enjoying, particularly for those who had been to get paired with Phil or one thing and it’s completely empty.’’
Graeme McDowell, who shot 4-under, mentioned it’s “going to be surreal’’ enjoying in entrance of no fans.
“This is the final word Stadium Course,’’ he mentioned. “This golf course is designed to have 75-, 100,000 thousand folks on it — particularly on holes like 17 and 18. I’d love to be in that final group on Sunday, I’d love to inform you precisely what it felt like attempting to win this event with no person watching.
“It’s going to be a weird feeling — particularly on this occasion the place crowd interplay is such an enormous key to this golf event. But what we’re doing right here is insignificant as compared to what’s occurring on the earth and it’s unprecedented. We simply don’t actually know the way to react and didn’t actually know what to anticipate.
“This makes skilled sports activities insignificant. There are greater issues at stake right here.’’