A Stripped-Down PGA Tour: No Fans, Plenty of Questions

The last of it left the day before. Everything save for the tops of the tents—grandstands, hospitality structures, merchandise pavilions—had been built for the RBC Heritage Classic when its tournament staff was informed in March that the event had been canceled, so director Steve Wilmot and his team went about tearing their village down. As the equipment was shipped from the Heritage’s Hilton Head home, however, the staff got word from the PGA Tour’s headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach: The tournament may be back on.

“Our answer was ‘yes’ when the Tour asked us if he could host again,” says Wilmot, whose RBC Heritage is now scheduled to begin June 18, nine weeks after its original date on the PGA Tour calendar. “But we certainly had a lot of questions.”

While the rest of the sports world hibernates during the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour is forging ahead with a season restart on June 11 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. The reimagined 2020 PGA Tour calendar unveiled last week is an ambitious endeavor: 14 tournaments in 13 weeks spread across the country, a venture many in and out of the game question whether is truly feasible. With any number of moving parts to a professional golf tournament ordinarily requiring the coordinated efforts of 1,500 to 2,500 people, can it be pulled off? The decision to move forward is bred by confidence from Tour and tournament officials that their collective footprint can be minimized in an environment filled with new restrictions. Restrictions regarding safety, yes, that the sport can adhere to physical distancing from its competitors and those conducting the events, and by barring fans from at least the first four events. But also economical and logistical concerns, areas whose limits are shifting and evolving. So how does the Tour go about scaling down its operations to meet these unassailable, and uncompromising, new parameters?

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Credit: golfdigest.com

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