PGA Tour’s leaked 37-page plan to restart season include golfers flying together on ‘quarantine planes’, THOUSANDS of coronavirus tests a week, and caddies carrying bags but NOT touching the clubs!
- Competitive golf is set to return on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge
- Ahead of its return, the PGA Tour’s health and safety plans have been leaked
- Golf’s biggest names were handed the colossal 37-page plan on Tuesday
- Players will be subjected to three coronavirus tests – a questionnaire, a thermal reading and a nasal swab/saliva test before they travel and upon arrival at venue
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A leaked document has outlined the PGA Tour’s health and safety plans for when competitive golf returns on June 11, revealing a colossal coronavirus testing regime that could see thousands taken every week.
Players were handed the 37-page plan on Tuesday, according to multiple reports, and learned that they will be subjected to three coronavirus tests – a questionnaire, a thermal reading and a nasal swab or saliva test – before they travel to a tournament and upon arrival. Every day at the course they will then take the questionnaire and a thermal reading.
Caddies will be allowed to partner their players, but they will not be permitted to touch the player’s clubs – usually they would hand over a club before every shot and clean it afterwards – meaning their role will primarily be to carry the golf bag and consult with the player over shots, so long as they socially distance themselves.
Strict health and safety plans are in place ahead of the return of competitive golf on June 11
Caddies are allowed to rake bunkers and hold flagsticks, so long as they wipe equipment down with disinfectant after use.
The PGA Tour will attempt to maintain a bubble for travel between tournaments by providing charter flights for up to 170 players and caddies. Seats will cost $600. Only players who test negative for Covid-19 pre-travel will be permitted to board.
There is also tight control over who is allowed to attend tournaments, with players’ families banned from site along with spectators. Coaches and interpreters are allowed to attend, but each player is permitted only one, and they must observe social distancing by staying six feet apart and never touching any equipment.
Limited support staff will be present, including PGA Tour officials, rules and scoring officials, security staff, player and caddies services, clubhouse staff and 40 members of the media.
In total, approximately 1,100 people will be allowed on site – and 400 of those will be required to take coronavirus tests, according to Golf Digest. Everyone else will have to complete a questionnaire and receive a temperature screening.
Caddies will not be permitted to touch the player’s clubs under the new strict guidelines
Their role now will primarily be to carry the bag and consult with players over their shots
It all adds up to a staggering testing operation. Players and caddies, of whom there are around 150 of each at most tournaments, will not be allowed to compete unless they submit to all tests. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will have to isolate themselves for a minimum of 10 days and then display no subsequent symptoms or return two successive negative tests.
Nasal swabs and saliva tests could take up to 48 hours for results to return, during which time players will be allowed to play but will have access to other facilities removed. The PGA Tour will provide face covers or masks and disinfectant wipes for all personnel, volunteers, players and caddies, and will cover the costs of the tests for players, caddies and essential staff.
Any player who competes but tests positive in the middle of tournament will be unable to finish, and will be paid prize money equivalent to finishing in last place, opening up the potential for problems should a player who is at the top of the leaderboard have to withdraw while on the verge of winning potentially huge sums of prize money. Winner’s cheques routinely are worth over $1m on the PGA Tour.
‘In implementing our testing plan, we will not do so in a manner that takes away from testing and medical resources in the communities in which we play or for affected groups in those communities,’ the plan reads, according to the Golf Channel.
Coaches can attend tournaments but must observe social distancing by staying six feet apart
Those involved in tournaments will also have restrictions placed on their movements within the cities or towns hosting the tournaments. Dining in restaurants is not allowed, and most players will be housed in a hotel organised by the Tour. Travel to and from the course is down to the players, but car-shares are not permitted.
The traditional pre-tournament Pro-ams are banned.
One anonymous player told Golf Digest: ‘It’s the most comprehensive plan the Tour has put out that puts our health and safety at a top priority. I’m very comfortable with it.’
The PGA Tour’s first tournament back following its suspension after the first round of the Players Championship in March will be the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, played from June 11-14.
The John Deere Classic in Illinois from July 9-12 is the first event on the new schedule that could allow fans to attend.
Golf has been suspended since the first round of the Players Championship in March
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