Chip Shots: PGA Tour playing it safe; when play can resume is a tough question to answer

Golf Tournaments Postponed




Little did we know or suspect it was even possible that a virus first reported in November of 2019 in Wuhan, China, would single-handedly change life as we know it.

Last week, while at the PGA Tour’s Super Bowl, The Players Championship, all was normal until it wasn’t. It seemed like, suddenly, the severity and the contagious-quality of this nasty little virus started taking control of every aspect of our life. In a two-day period, The PLAYERS, which began on track, moved to a no-spectator event, and then was cancelled, with mixed emotions I’m sure.

During Thursday’s opening round, word spread that the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, would be addressing the media at noon to announce a game plan for the rest of the championship week. We were told play would continue as normal on Thursday, but beginning Friday, there would be no spectators allowed. All afternoon, we watched the news come in that premier events were being cancelled nationwide — MLB Spring Training, NBA games, and the NCAA tournament. Even NHL games, tennis matches, and conventions were being cancelled, followed by the closing of major theme parks like Disney World. How could this virus affect everything so dramatically?

There was no choice but for the PGA Tour to do the same, for the safety of the competitors, fans, volunteers, and staff. That meant also cancelling the PGA Tour Champions, the Korn-Ferry Tour, and all events under the PGA Tour umbrella for the next three weeks.

Those who teed it up in the first round of The PLAYERS, though, all 144 players, will each receive $52,083.33, which adds up to half of the $15 million purse.

The word “postponed” sounds so much better than “cancelled,” especially when it comes from The Augusta Mountain Top. The Masters has been postponed indefinitely. Naturally, speculation on a possible date for The Masters quickly ensued, and rumor has it that a possible date in October is under consideration.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association and Symetra Tour also announced events are postponed for the next three weeks, which includes the first major championship of the year, the ANA Inspiration.

As difficult as it was to make the decision to shut down the Tour for the time being, I think it will be a far more daunting task to decide when play can resume.

If officials take too long, then the tournaments close to the restart date might not have enough time to prepare. On the other hand, restarting too soon could put lives in danger again. It will be interesting to see how the date is derived. How will we know when it will be OK?

It certainly goes without saying this pandemic must be taken very seriously. Watching and participating in sports has always been a priority in my life and career, so it is more than strange that there are no sports to watch, either in person or from the comfort of my living room – especially being a college basketball fanatic. I was really looking forward to March Madness. Now, I call it “March Sadness.”

But when I stop to lament over what I am going to miss, I realize my personal enjoyment is nothing compared to the disappointment for the untold number of college seniors that have been denied their opportunity to showcase their skills for the last time. How will it impact their future? Only time will tell.

I am very confident we shall roll through the nasty little virus by being diligent and following all the safety information being sent our way.

bobvoiceofgolf@gmail.com