PGA Tour confirm June return for tournament golf, but with no spectators
Charles Schwab Challenge to begin resumption of PGA Tour competition, but only if safe to do so
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 16/04/20 9:36pm
The PGA Tour has announced plans for tournament golf to return in June, with the first four events of the season's resumption played behind closed doors.
The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Texas has been confirmed as the first tournament back, being scheduled to take place from June 11-14.
The Memorial, which was to have been played in mid-June, has now been switched to July 16-19 which is the week that was originally occupied by The 149th Open until it was cancelled for this year by the R&A last week.
The WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational will now go ahead four weeks later than scheduled in the final week of July, and the players will then head to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco for the first major of the year - the PGA Championship.
The remaining schedule as announced last week will then be followed, most likely still behind closed doors, although the 2020/21 season will begin just three days after the Tour Championship concludes in September.
But PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan insisted the tournaments would go ahead only if given the all-clear by public health authorities.
"The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our No 1 priority, and our hope is to play a role - responsibly - in the world's return to enjoying the things we love," said Monahan in a statement.
"Today's announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we've stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when - working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities - it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities."
The RBC Heritage, which was postponed from April, has been restored to the schedule for the middle of June in the week that should have been for the US Open, but the RBC Canadian Open and The Barbasol Championship - scheduled for June and July respectively - have been cancelled for this year.
The Tour also confirmed that the fields for the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage and the Memorial Tournament have been increased to 144 players to "provide additional playing opportunities for PGA Tour members."
The statement added that the four tournaments on the modified schedule would not be open to spectators.
"At this time, the Tour plans to resume play with the first four events closed to the general public but will continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of local and state authorities in order to determine the most appropriate on-site access in each market.
"As such, the Tour will continually review available COVID-19-related protocols that could be implemented at PGA Tour events to ensure the health and well-being for all involved."
Safeway Open organisers confirmed that their tournament will kick off the 2020/21 season on September 10, just three days after the Tour Championship is set to conclude a 36-event 2019/20 campaign in Atlanta.
🚨Announcement🚨 The Safeway Open presented by Chevron will now take place September 10-13, 2020 as a part of the new @PGATOUR schedule!⛳️ (🔗 link in bio)— Safeway Open (@SafewayOpen) April 15, 2020
Join us for 4 days of PGA TOUR golf and 3 nights of live music in the heart of wine country 🎶🍷⛳️ #SafewayOpen #PGATOUR pic.twitter.com/ztLwpV0vSM
PGA Tour chief tournaments and competitions officer, Andy Pazder, said: "This portion of our 2020-21 schedule is possible only because of the many partners who have worked tirelessly to grow their events and impact the lives of those in need in their respective communities, and our players, who have embraced the expanded fall schedule in recent years.
"We'd like to express our appreciation to the leadership of the Safeway Open, Houston Open and Mayakoba Golf Classic - which will conclude our calendar year schedule in Riviera Maya, Mexico - for their flexibility, which allowed for the US Open and Masters Tournament to be played in the fall.
"The accommodations will help the global golf community maximise the 2020 calendar, which will be incredibly impactful for our fans and put us in a strong position heading into 2021."
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