SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The PGA announced it was going ahead with plans to hold professional golf’s first major championship of the year — the PGA Championship — at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park course in August, but it will be played without fans on the course.
The decision to play the championship without fans lining the course was made in coordination with the state of California and city and county of San Francisco.
“We are both inspired and honored to ‘play on,’” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh in a news release. “In doing so, we will spotlight not only the beauty of TPC Harding Park, but the fortitude of San Francisco and its remarkable people.”
While San Francisco has been slowly lifting many of the restrictions put into place in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19, large gatherings are still off-limits.
“We are thrilled to welcome the PGA Championship to San Francisco,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “We are able to safely take this step toward reopening because of the ongoing sacrifices of our citizens, the continued committed work of our healthcare workers, and the early action we took to battle COVID-19.”
PGA officials said they would continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and work in concert with state, local and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in the weeks before and during the tournament scheduled for Aug. 3-9.
As of Sunday, San Francisco health officials said that 3,185 local residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began with 48 deaths.
“We’d like to thank the state of California and the city and county of San Francisco for being terrific partners in helping us get to this place,” Waugh said. “While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy.”
The PGA Tour completed its second tournament since restarting play. Webb Simpson won the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island Sunday, shooting a blistering five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the final round back nine.
Simpson won the U.S. Open at San Francisco’s Olympic Club in 2012. Ironically, The U.S. Open has been scheduled to end on Father’s Day every year since 1976, but it was moved to September this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PGA Tour now heads to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship, and it’s still to be determined who will be playing until coronavirus tests are released for those on the charter flight.
The uncertainty stems from the first positive test — Nick Watney last Friday — along with 11 tests for those who had been in close contact with Watney. Until the first tournament back at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, the area around Harbour Town was crowded with the start of summer vacation.
Those not on the charter will be tested upon arrival in Connecticut. Any positive test means a player must withdraw.
In the coming days, those who purchased tickets directly from the PGA of America will be contacted to facilitate refunds. Updates will be posted at pgachampionship.com and on social media @PGAChampionship.
Those who purchased tickets from a secondary market platform other than pgachampionship.com should contact that site directly. The PGA of America will be unable to process refunds for those tickets.
The 2020 PGA Championship – the first in the PGA of America’s landmark 11-year media rights agreement with CBS and ESPN – will feature CBS Sports, ESPN and ESPN+ combining to deliver an unprecedented amount of broadcast and digital coverage.
Seven of the past 10 winners of the PGA Championship went on to become No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, including Brooks Koepka, who won his second consecutive PGA Championship in May 2019 at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. The two-time defending PGA Champion will use the season’s initial men’s major championship to bid for history, as he’ll seek to become the first player to win the same major three consecutive times since Australia’s Peter Thomson claimed three straight Open Championships from 1954-56.