Golf Expert & Columnist
Rich Beem: Right decision to play PGA Championship without fans
Last Updated: 23/06/20 10:52am
Former PGA Champion Rich Beem gives his verdict on this year's contest going ahead without spectators and reflects on recent PGA Tour events played with no crowds.
There have been rumblings for a long time now that the PGA Championship may be played without spectators, so I'm not totally surprised by the decision. I think with the resurgence of the number of Covid cases around the globe, especially in the USA, that it's probably the right thing to do.
It's unfortunate, as the great thing about majors is that they have a different atmosphere and different feel because of the enormity of the event. A lot of that may be missing this time, but I'm sure it will work out fine for TV and we'll get a deserving champion - even if it feels a little awkward.
As Andrew Coltart said on-air during the RBC Heritage the other evening, if you have the ability to play an event right now - even without fans - then you need to because you never know what situation we're going to be in next year. I obviously don't want it to be worse, but could it be worse next year? Nobody can predict that right now.
No spectators at PGA Championship
The 2020 contest, held at TPC Harding Park from August 6-9, will go ahead without fans.
Economically, this is going to be a big financial hit for the PGA of America, because of all the merchandise and all the corporate opportunities they can't sell. That part of it is highly disappointing, but the show must go on and I think playing it, even without fans, is the right thing to do.
It will be different, there's no doubt about it, but I don't think whoever wins the PGA this year is going to look back and say anything different about it because it was played behind closed doors. You're still going to have the title of 2020 PGA Champion and will always be a major champion.
The one thing we will probably miss this year more than anything else is the raw emotion coming down the stretch. That's the strangest thing about all of this, the lack of emotion you're seeing from the guys when watching them on TV right now without spectators.
Players are making big putts and they're not fist-pumping, not getting as excited by them and don't seem to be getting as fired up as they would do previously. The celebrations for those putts or key moments are still there, but they just don't quite have the same energy as they usually do.
It's obviously a big deal for them to win any tournament and play well, but the lack of the reaction is still taking a little bit of time for us watching at home on TV to get used to. You'd normally see a player raise their hand after holing out at 18 or an embrace with their caddie, but you just aren't getting any of that.
There may be plenty of things we're not used to right now, but the main point to remember is that to have golf on at all right now is a pretty big deal. It has given a lot of folks at home something to take their minds off what is going on in the world, so just go get people back playing and showing live golf again is fantastic.
Watch the PGA Championship from August 6-9 live on Sky Sports Golf!