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The PGA Tour sends players memo outlining plans for fans at early 2021 events

December 10, 2020

Harold Varner III acknowledges the gallery on the 18th hole at the 2020 Genesis Invitational. The 2021 edition of the tournament is planing for no more than 500 fans per day.

Stan Badz

The PGA Tour will allow a limited number of spectators at a handful of select tournaments in the early months of 2021, Golf Digest has learned.

On Thursday, the tour sent an email to players outlining its plans for the first seven tournaments of the new year, starting with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Jan. 7-10 in Maui, through the Genesis Invitational, Feb. 18-21 at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The email, a copy of which was obtained by Golf Digest, said the tour is working in accordance with local governments and that its plans vary in accordance with current local COVID-19 guidelines.

In Hawaii, which only recently opened its islands to visitors, up to 200 fans/VIPs per day will be allowed at Kapalua and only up to 100 per day at the Sony Open the following week in Honolulu.

After that, the tour moves to the U.S. mainland, beginning with The American Express in Palm Springs, Calif., where 100-200 spectators per day will be allowed.

From there, the tour heads down the California coast to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open outside San Diego. Though fans will not be allowed, as reported earlier, the tournament will permit up to two VIP guests per group.

Then there’s the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. The tournament with the highest annual attendance on tour—in 2018 it had a record 719,179 fans for the week—will allow up to 8,000 fans per day next year, by far the most of any PGA Tour event to date. Scott Jenkins, who is chairing the tournament for the host organizers, The Thunderbirds, in 2021, told Golf Digest last month that the plan was to build a one-story structure to accommodate fans at the par-3 16th, which has in recent years had a three-story grandstand surrounding most of the hole. 

The following week the tour returns to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where spectators will not be allowed in attendance. Finally, the email notes that the Genesis Invitational will have up to 500 fans per day in attendance.

Since the tour resumed its season in mid-June, the only tournaments so far to allow fans in attendance were the Bermuda Championship (500 per day) and the Vivint Houston Open (2,000).