The PGA Tour is back! Here is all you need to know about live golf getting back underway this week at Colonial
PGA Tour Restart: All You Need To Know
When the first ball is struck at Colonial this week, PGA Tour executives will breathe a sigh of relief after a three-month period of planning for top-level golf to continue.
It has been a long journey but to the delight of golf fans, we now have a full PGA Tour schedule to look forward to.
Obviously in this new Covid-19 world, the PGA Tour has taken a number of steps to ensure that play can continue safely, with measures like extensive testing and no crowds put into place.
All PGA Tour players from overseas (around 25, but not all have made the journey to the US) and their caddies have had to quarantine for two weeks to prepare for the first event at Colonial.
Matt Fitzpatrick had a test at Sheffield United FC and has been in quarantine over in America, whilst Rory McIlroy’s caddie Harry Diamond has been quarantining in one of Rory’s outbuildings.
When it comes to tournament week, most players, caddies, staff and officials will be staying in a designated hotel, which the PGA Tour are calling a ‘bubble’.
Everyone on site will be tested three times, with a swab test, a temperature test and a questionnaire, and players will only be allowed to practise on the driving range and short game areas whilst they wait for the test results.
The ‘bubble’ also includes travel, with the PGA Tour putting on chartered flights to and from their events to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
With flying and hotels, the tour has said that players can choose to stay in motorhomes or rented houses, and the Phil Mickelsons of this world will also still be allowed to fly in private jets between tournaments.
As previously mentioned, caddies will still be used despite the LPGA Tour telling its players that they can forego the option of using a caddie for the rest of the season.
It remains to be seen if social distancing will be in effect as caddies and players have to have a very close relationship on the course.
If both caddie and player have tested negative for the virus, which will happen otherwise they won’t be allowed to play, then they may be able to get on with their business as usual.
The first PGA Tour event, the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial will feature a very strong field with all of the world’s top five players (McIlroy, Rahm, Koepka, Thomas, DJ) in attendance.
That is the first time since 1986 that the Fort Worth, Texas event has featured all of the world’s top five, and 15 of the world’s top 20 have entered as things stand.
Two-time Colonial winner Phil Mickelson will be in the field, however Tiger Woods will not be.
Prize funds are also remaining the same for the PGA Tour season as oppose to on the European Tour where purses have had to come down due to declining revenues amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Charles Schwab Challenge has a huge purse of $7.5m, with the next three events all featuring $7m+ purses too.
Keeping with the pandemic, fans will not be able to attend any of the first four events.
“It’s going to be awful without fans,” Brooks Koepka said on the Pardon My Take podcast in April.
The four-time Major winner also said that players will lose golf balls without the fans – something that is probably correct and may add an interesting dynamic for TV viewers.
Will players be forced to play safer from the tee because there’s no guarantee of finding their golf balls if they stray offline? We’ll see.
Fans will be returning at The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, starting 16th July.
It’s currently unknown whether fans will be able to attend the Ryder Cup, which means that it could well be postponed – especially after Steve Stricker’s recent comments.
How to watch
For UK fans, Sky Sports will be showing all four days of the tournament live.
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With golf resuming, the Official World Golf Ranking is also resuming after three months.
However, due to the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours being the only ones starting, there has been some criticisms.
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