PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Despite the growing concern and continued spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Players Championship will be played as scheduled, with spectators allowed to attend, on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, the PGA Tour said in a statement released just after midnight Thursday morning. It also said that fans wishing to no longer attend the event can request a refund or exchange.
“The PGA Tour is aware of rapidly changing developments regarding COVID-19,” the statement said. “With the information currently available, The Players Championship will continue as scheduled, although we will absolutely continue to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and local health administrations. This is obviously a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication and transparency, and we are dedicated to all three aspects.”
Players were also notified by the tour on Wednesday evening in a pair of text messages that play would move forward. The messages came after the NBA announced that it was suspending its season and President Donald Trump announced a ban on travelers to the United States from Europe would be in place for the next 30 days in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, which was deemed a global pandemic earlier in the day by the World Health Organization.
“We are aware of rapidly changing developments with the NBA schedule and announced US Travel restrictions from Europe,” a text message to PGA Tour players read. “We will keep you informed as info becomes available. Please be prepared to play tomorrow. Round 1 is on schedule.”
The tour also announced that there will be an additional update by noon EDT on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health also reported on Wednesday that 26 people in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus. That number includes a man from St. Johns County, which is where TPC Sawgrass is located, as well as multiple cases from other counties in the region.