PGA Tour Releases Health & Safety Plan Outlining Protocols For Events
The PGA Tour has sent its Health and Safety Plan to players "outlining how events will be managed when play resumes on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge," according to Rex Hoggard of GOLFCHANNEL.com. The central tenet of the plan is a "layered testing approach that will begin with a questionnaire for players, caddies and other officials, along with temperature testing" and a nasal swab/saliva test.
The plan consists of the following tenets:
- Players and caddies will be "sent a pre-travel screening test and will also be tested when they arrive in a tournament city, likely at a host hotel." After that, "daily questionnaires and temperature screenings will be applied."
- Testing will be "required as a condition of competition, similar to the current drug testing requirements."
- Results for the nasal swabs will "take 24-48 hours and those waiting for results can still practice and play but will not have access to other onsite facilities."
- Those who "test positive will not be allowed to continue with the competition and, per federal and local health guidelines, they will be isolated for at least 10 days." A player who "tests positive after making the cut at an event will receive last place earnings."
- A “bubble” of players and assorted personnel will be tested. That list includes "players, caddies, Tour officials, select ShotLink and tournament staff, clubhouse staff and independent trainers" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/12).
TOUR TO PROVIDE PPE: GOLFWEEK's Steve DiMeglio noted the PGA Tour will "provide face covers/masks and disinfectant wipes for all personnel, volunteers, players and caddies." The Tour will "cover the costs of the tests for players, caddies and essential staff." In addition, the Tour will "provide a chartered flight from each tournament site to the next, but those flights will require players and caddies to submit to viral testing within 24 hours of departure." Only passengers who "test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to board the flight" (GOLFWEEK.com, 5/12). Golfer Kevin Streelman said by chartering flights, the Tour is "trying to keep our bubble nice and tight" (GOLFWEEK.com, 5/11).
ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL ONLY: GOLF DIGEST's Brian Wacker noted only those "deemed essential -- approximately 1,100 people in total -- will be allowed on-site, with roughly 400 of them to be subjected to testing." Family will "not be allowed on-site, nor will agents or managers." Coaches and interpreters will be "allowed but must follow social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart, never having direct contact with the player or touching his equipment." It is also "expected that players, caddies and essential staff would be housed in a designated host hotel to create a controlled environment; however, exceptions such as RVs, rental homes approved by the Tour, or a player staying in his own home would be permitted." There will also be "media center guidelines, which include limiting the number of media on-site to approximately 40 people, spread out in an acceptable manner." TV and broadcast personnel will be "scaled back" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 5/12).
PLAYERS READY TO GO: GOLF.com's Alan Shipnuck notes the PGA Tour Players Advisory Council last week voted 16-0 to "push forward with the revised schedule, which calls for Colonial to be the first tournament back beginning on June 11." However, many questions remain, beginning with whether the Tour "can obtain enough testing kits." PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has made clear that is a "prerequisite to returning to competition," though tests "remain scarce to the public." The first four events "will be played without fans and the Tour is pushing the players to accept a streamlined approach during those tournaments." Streelman said he feels "more confident we're going to play" after hearing from Monahan last week: "It's not 99% sure, but it's not 65% either. Somewhere in between" (GOLF.com, 5/11). The Tour today said there are about 25 players currently living outside the U.S., and the Tour is working with the federal government to help with the return of those players and caddies by the mid-June restart (John Lombardo, THE DAILY).