No timetable for fans to return on PGA Tour, though January may be the target

September 02, 2020

Fans watch play around the third hole during the first round of the Players Championship on March 12, the last time fans were allowed into a PGA Tour event.

Ben Jared

ATLANTA — On Wednesday, the PGA Tour unveiled its schedule for the 2020-’21 season, which will feature a whopping 50 events, including six majors. When fans will be allowed to attend any of those tournaments again, however, remains unclear.

This week’s Tour Championship is the 14th straight event held without spectators since the tour paused its season in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed playing in mid-June. Asked on Wednesday at East Lake when that could change, Commissioner Jay Monahan didn’t provide much clarity.

“Given the consistently fluid nature of the virus and the way different communities are responding, each discussion is a different discussion,” he said. “So you may see different tournaments returning at different levels as we get into the end of the year and into ’21.”

Already, many of the tournaments that make up the fall portion of the schedule have declared they will not have spectators in attendance—the season-opening Safeway Open in two weeks, the U.S. Open, the Sanderson Farms Championship, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Masters and RSM Classic among them.

Meanwhile, no announcement has been made whether or not fans will be allowed to attend the Houston Open in November, while the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico the first week of December is currently selling tickets on its website. According to one source familiar with ongoing discussions within the tour, the thought is that fans would almost certainly be allowed at tournaments in time for the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui in January, if not sooner.

Monahan did say that the tour will hold its first pro-am since March at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic later this month. The Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Champions, meanwhile, have already re-instituted pro-ams.

He also said the tour will move into Phase II of a five-phase plan this fall, though he did not provide specifics of each phase.

“We're encouraged by the fact that you're continuing to see more options, which creates more potential for a quicker return of our fans,” Monahan said. “When we feel like it's safe to return fans out here, that's when fans will return. We owe that to them, to make sure that we feel like we're supported locally in every market we play in, that that is supported by the local government authorities.”