The PGA Tour & # 39; s Memorial Tournament, scheduled to take place in central Ohio next week, had hoped to pave the way for spectators to return to golf events during the coronavirus pandemic and in turn perhaps a blueprint for how fans could safely attend other major US sports leagues.
But Monday, the tour and tournament organizers announced that they were scrapping plans to allow as many as 8,000 fans a day at the event. The increase in Covid-19 cases across the country and in Ohio were the main factors in the decision.
“While we took the opportunity to be the first PGA Tour event to welcome the return of fans on the ground – and be part of our nation's collective re-emergence after the Covid-19 crisis, we recognize the current increase in positive Covid-19 cases across the country, and our ultimate responsibility, "said Dan Sullivan, the tournament's executive director, in a
Jay Monahan, the travel commissioner, referred to" the wider challenges that communities face ", saying that the focus now was on" the health and safety of all concerned. "
In the past few weeks, several PGA Tour players and their caddies have tested positive for the virus , withdrawing a handful of elite golfers from tournaments.
The Memorial, hosted by Jack Nicklaus since the mid-1970s and set to begin July 16, is one of the recommended ev of the tour ents and always has a strong field of top golfers. It is one of Tiger Woods' favorite events, which he has won five times. Woods, who has not played on the PGA Tour since February, is expected to return to the track during next week's tournament.
Since June, the Memorial Tournament had the approval of national and local officials for a limited period of time. Attendance – approximately 20 percent of usual capacity – at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Grandstands and grandstands were not built, but fans would have been allowed to watch competition from different viewing locations on site under specific social distance guidelines.
So far, the PGA Tour has held four tournaments without fans. . More than 20 other events are planned for 2020, but are currently not expected to receive fans on site. That includes the P.G.A. Championship, the first golf major of the season, held in San Francisco from August 6-9.
Monahan said in a statement Monday that the tour would welcome fans, "when the time comes right. "