(KPIX 5) — While most professional sports leagues across the country debate how they plan to return to their respective fields, courts and rinks, the PGA is still planning to host its first tournament on May 21.
KPIX golf analyst John Abendorth was pessimistic that the Charles Schwab Challenge would be able to take place in Fort Worth, Texas with about five weeks to go.
“We’re not even supposed to be leaving our house without a mask,” Abrendroth told sports director Dennis O’Donnell on Gameday. “I’m not sure how they would get everything up and running in about a month.”
Nearly all the aspects of running a major professional golf tournament would present a challenge when considering social distancing guidelines, but Abendroth said golf could survive without spectators.
“Some golfers would rather have it that way,” he joked.
In September, Tiger Woods won Japan’s Zozo Championship and played the second round without a gallery after a typhoon made it unsafe for crowds to enter and exit the golf course.
No fans seems like the most plausible solution for the return of sports which might make the PGA Championship at Harding Park possible in early August. The tournament was originally planned to start on May 14 but will have to wait about another three months.
The Masters was supposed to be over this past weekend, but instead golf’s “tradition unlike any other” on KPIX was reduced to a 2019 rerun when Tiger Woods won his first major in over a decade.
They re-scheduled the tournament for early November which will be novelty for Masters diehards.
“The foliage will look different,” Abendroth said. “The course will be in fabulous shape.”
Augusta National traditionally closes during the summer months and opens again in the fall.
Abendroth wondered if tournament officials would be enacting the “leaf rule” for balls that are hit into the fairway; only to be lost under leaves.
“You wouldn’t get the one stroke penalty,” he said.
It would seem that recreational hackers will have a better chance of returning to the golf course before the professionals. In fact, some counties outside the Bay Area are still allowing golf to go on with social distancing measures in place.
Alta Sierra Country Club in Grass Valley has closed their pro shop, but golfers are allowed to play the course as long as they stay six feet apart. Sharing carts is only allowed if the pairing lives in the same household.
“It’s going county by county,” said Abendroth who is a member of the PGA. “If you let people out there, the concern is that they are going to get too close.”