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How the PGA Tour plans to hold the Colonial safely amid coronavirus pandemic

Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Golf

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The PGA Tour unveiled a detailed, 37-page health and safety plan outlining the protocols and measures that will be taken at next month's Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.

The idea is to create a "bubble" for players and others associated with the event by isolating them from the general public as much as possible, and encouraging social distancing measures on and off the course. The PGA Tour has already said fans would not be able to attend the tournament, which is scheduled for the week of June 8 with tournament rounds June 11-14.

"While we believe we have created an extremely comprehensive health and safety plan, we will not play if we do not feel we can provide a safe and healthy environment for all constituents," the PGA Tour said in a memo sent to its players.

The PGA Tour is implementing a layered testing approach, starting with a questionnaire and temperature testing for players, caddies and other essential personnel required to run the tournament.

They will also undergo a RT-PCR nasal swab or saliva test before the tournament with results returned within 48 hours. (Players and caddies traveling to the tournament on the PGA Tour's chartered flight will undergo a pre-travel test as well.)

While awaiting results, players and caddies may go onsite for practice and play only, but will not be able to access facilities such as the clubhouse or other inside spaces.

 

Following the initial test, there will be daily questionnaires and temperature screenings.

"We do anticipate a lot of players playing week to week to week in consecutive weeks, and so they'll be doing a pre-travel test, they'll be doing a test when they arrive in each market," said Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour's senior vice president of tournament administration. "We feel that, as our medical advisers do, that one test per week is a significant amount of viral testing, on top of all the layered approach that we're taking with everything else in our plan."

In the event of a positive test, the PGA Tour said the individual would be immediately isolated and required to self isolate for a minimum of 10 days. (If a player tests positive after making the cut, they will be barred from completing the tournament and receive last-place earnings)

A PGA Tour official estimated 400 tests would be required for the Colonial. Officials repeatedly emphasized that the Tour would not take resources away from the local community. The Tour will be providing and paying for every test administered to run the event, as well as the costs associated with self-isolation for anyone who tests positive during the event.

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