PGA Tour cancels events through mid-May; PGA Championship postponed
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In quick succession on Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Tour and PGA of America announced the latest changes to the competitive golf schedule in the wake of the escalating COVID-19 virus.
The PGA Tour extended the cancellation of its tournaments for four more weeks, running through the AT&T Byron Nelson scheduled for May 7-10. The PGA of America, meanwhile, said that it was postponing the PGA Championship, slated for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, until later in 2020.
The decisions, both reported earlier in the day by Golf Digest, come as much of the United States continued with more cancellations, postponements, travel restrictions and closures made in hopes of slowing down the spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the Tour's Player Advisory Committee were on a phone call Tuesday afternoon in which tour officials outlined the tour's moves. Players were notified shortly afterward.
The newest round of cancellations on the PGA Tour include the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town in South Carolina, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, and the Byron Nelson in Dallas.
“The health and safety of everyone associated with the PGA Tour and the global community is and will continue to be our No. 1 priority as we navigate the ongoing health crisis related to the Coronavirus Pandemic,” read part of the PGA Tour's statement. “As we receive more clarity in the coming weeks, the Tour will be working with our tournament organizations and title sponsors, in collaboration with golf’s governing bodies, to build a PGA Tour schedule for 2020 that ensures the health and safety for all associated with our sport and a meaningful conclusion to the season. We will provide further updates when those plans come into focus.”
According to a source, it's expected that the start of the Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs, currently scheduled for The Northern Trust on Aug. 13-16 at TPC Boston, will be pushed back a week, which would open the door for the PGA Championship to be played in the open slot.
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh did not specify when the PGA Championship might be rescheduled, but noted in the PGA of America release: “We are and have been working in concert with Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners and friends at the PGA Tour to find an alternative date that works for all. We are all very hopeful for a great outcome.
“We are also in dialogue with Mayor Breed and her team at the City of San Francisco and look forward to hopefully bringing the 2020 PGA Championship to TPC Harding Park at a date this summer when it is once again safe and responsible to do so.”
The PGA Tour's release also stated that Tuesday's cancellation of events through May 10 applies to all six tours operated by the PGA Tour. However, the Regions Tradition, originally set for May 7-10 and one of the PGA Tour Champions' five majors, has been re-scheduled to Sept. 24-27.
Meanwhile, the Official World Golf Ranking—one of the determinations for who qualifies for majors and other events such as the World Golf Championships—will be frozen until play across golf's major tours resumes, according to a source.
Last week, the PGA Tour canceled the Players Championship in the hours after the first round at TPC Sawgrass and announced that it was canceling all tournaments through the Valero Texas Open, which was slated for April 2-5. The following morning, Augusta National followed suit, announcing the Masters, originally scheduled for the week after the Valero, would be postponed, and on Monday the club sent a letter to its members that it was closing the course this week. That brings the total of PGA Tour events canceled due to the coronavirus to nine.
The news comes after the CDC suggested on Sunday canceling or postponing events with 50 or more people throughout the country for the next eight weeks and a day after the PGA of America announced that it was postponing the PGA Professional Championship, which was scheduled for April 26-29 in Austin, Texas.