Other Sports

Top-flight golf tees off again

Ready to tee off: Rory McIlroy, tipped to win the title, practices his putt as Rickie Fowler watches him.

Ready to tee off: Rory McIlroy, tipped to win the title, practices his putt as Rickie Fowler watches him.   | Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann

After COVID-19 halted the PGA Tour on March 12, the world’s top-five golfers will be part of the field when action returns with the $7.5 million Charles Schwab Cup in Fort Worth, USA, from Thursday.

World No. 1 Rory McIlory, second-ranked Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson will feature in the first competition after 13 weeks. Only two from the top-10 — Australia’s Adam Scott and England’s Tommy Fleetwood — are absent owing to travel-related quarantine rules in the US.

Tiger Woods, ranked 11th, is also not playing. He has played only twice this year and in his last tournament appearance, his final-round 77 saw him tumble to the last place in the Genesis Invitational.

Three months after being forced shut by COVID-19, the PGA Tour will hit the restart button when the top golfers tee off at the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday.

The Tour’s 91-day hiatus since The Players Championship was cancelled — the longest unscheduled break from competition since World War II — will finally end when current FedExCup No. 1 Sungjae Im leads a stellar field, which includes the top-five players in the world and 16 of the top 20 at the Colonial Country Club.

“I think at this point you have a wide range of emotions. But the most important one, or the most prevalent one for me, is that I’m excited,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

As part of preparations, Sanford Health lab technicians have set up travelling mobile testing units that deliver results in a matter of hours.

Players will be tested prior to and immediately after their arrival in the tournament city, and once again to use certain areas of the golf course facility.

Monahan said they have “identified ways to keep players, caddies and all constituents separated from each other.”

”...we’re not going to have spectators, we’ve got a pretty extensive sanitization protocol and we’re going to keep that separation all the way through to the hotel and ultimately the charter flights that are going to move our players and caddies to and from events.”

Talking about the mobile testing units, Monahan said: “To be able to have these mobile testing facilities and vans at our tournament this week at Colonial and every week going forward, to arrive and have that test turned around in two to four hours, and for us to be able to purchase all those supplies and provide all those resources, accomplishes both of those goals.”

The Tour is confident that even if a player tests positive, proper measures are in place to maintain a safe atmosphere for others involved.

“We feel like we’ve done everything we can to mitigate the possibility that a player, caddie or anybody in our small bubble test positive. But if they do, we’ll come back to that original statement, which is we’ll follow the guidelines of the experts,” he said.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 10:44:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/top-flight-golf-tees-off-again/article31798462.ece

Next Story