Golf

PGA safety measures, player protection plan approved as Tour looks to resume in June

A three-stage screening process and isolation within tournament cities are part of the approved safety plan outlined by the PGA Tour.

Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas will be 1st tournament played since shutdown

Kevin Na, left, celebrates his win in last year's Charles Schwab Challenge. The tournament, scheduled for June 11-14, will be the first PGA event to be played since the shutdown. (The Associated Press)

A three-stage screening process and isolation within tournament cities are part of the approved safety plan outlined by the PGA Tour.

The Tour returns with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, June 11-14 with wide-ranging restrictions created to minimize risk and concern about the spread of the coronavirus.

A 37-page memo on safety regulations that are being adopted for all events during the coronavirus pandemic was sent to players on Tuesday.

Included in the outline are specifics on travel — families are not permitted at events and one or two hotels will be used for all players — and caddie etiquette. Caddies are required to sanitize the flagstick and bunker rake after each use.

The first four events are scheduled to be played without fans, and a decision on fan attendance at additional events is not likely until June.

Any player with a thermal test exceeding a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius is required to take a coronavirus test. A positive result for the coronavirus means the player must immediately quarantine and will be unable to compete in the tournament. Additionally, that player would need to self-isolate for 10 days and produce two negative results 24 hours apart before being cleared to return.

Results of COVID-19 swabs can take at least 48 hours, raising the question from players as to whether they could be exposed while another player, potentially positive for the coronavirus, awaits results.

Minimize contact with caddies

"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 Tour said in the memo.

Players are encouraged to "minimize contact" with their caddies. If they bring a trainer or swing coach — both are permitted — those employees are subject to all testing protocol. All would be dismissed under the same rules that apply to players regarding positive tests.

Clubhouse access will be minimal, and the PGA will cap the entire event population at 1,100.

As with NASCAR's return, limited media will be admitted by the PGA Tour for June and July events. NASCAR will allow one local reporter and three national reporters at the track during May events.

The Tour said it will provide charter flights between events for up to 170 players and caddies.

PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions players will be charged $600 per seat, with caddies and Korn Ferry Tour players paying $300. All passengers must submit to viral testing within 24 hours of departure and only passengers who test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to board the flight.

Tune in to CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET to rewatch golf from the 2016 Rio Olympics on our weekly show Olympic Games Replay.

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