Coronavirus: PGA Tour hopeful of hosting fans before end of 2020 – Monahan

By Sacha Pisani 16 July 2020 5
Coronavirus: PGA Tour hopeful of hosting fans before end of 2020 – Monahan

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he is hopeful of welcoming back spectators before the end of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The PGA has already confirmed no fans will be present for the remainder of the current season due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Golf returned behind closed doors in June, but Monahan hopes to have at least some sort of crowd in attendance later in the year.

The 2020-21 season will begin with the Safeway Open in California on September 10.

"I mean, we're doing everything we can to be prepared to have fans at our tournaments certainly in the final quarter of the year post-Tour Championship," Monahan said on Wednesday, with the Memorial Tournament scheduled to start at Muirfield Village on Thursday.

"The way it works – just so you guys all have a sense of it – is at this point we have enough time to be able to continue to assess what's happening on the ground in the markets where we play, speaking to governors, speaking to mayors, speaking to health authorities ... I think as we get into early August and mid-August, then we'll start making some decisions about where we're going to be post-Tour Championship with our events.

"We're hopeful that you're going to see fans at our tournaments when we get to the back half of the year, or quarter of the year."

World number one Rory McIlroy is in the field for this week's Memorial Tournament, where American superstar Tiger Woods will make his first appearance since February's Genesis Open.

Since the PGA's return, four-time major champion McIlroy has not finished in the top 10 – tied for 32nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T41 at the RBC Heritage and T11 at the Travelers Championship.

On golf without fans, McIlroy told reporters: "What I've experienced, I haven't necessarily been in contention the last few times that we've played without fans, but if anything I've realised personally that it's very hard for me to keep focus out here.

"I feel like when there's fans and there's that energy and the atmosphere, it's easy to get into that mindset that you need to get into, right, like that's what we're used to, that's what we do. 

"But when you don't have that, I felt the first three weeks my mind was wandering a little bit. Sort of easy to lose focus, easy to lose concentration. I think some of the mistakes I was making were because of that.

"It could go both ways, but I think fans or no fans, if you're in with a chance to win a tournament, I think you're going to feel it regardless."

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