You know what’s bad for the spread of a communicable disease? Tightly-packed crowds that all touch each other and spend a lot of time in one area. You know where tightly-packed crowds all touch each other and spend a lot of time in one area? Golf tournaments.
As coronavirus makes its way into the United States and starts to affect every walk of life —— PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said on Tuesday that there are no plans for the PGA Tour to cancel anything. Nor do they plan to limit crowds or prevent them altogether.
The Players Championship will go off as usual starting on Thursday. So will the Valspar Championship next week and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks from now. It’s the WGC event that has folks’ attention after SXSW was recently cancelled in the same city — Austin, Texas.
“We fully expect that the tournament will be held in Austin,” Monahan said on Tuesday. “That tournament is two weeks away. We’re all in and making certain that we’re able to operate that event.”
“I think it goes without saying that the health, safety, well-being of our players, our fans, our tournaments, everybody that’s involved in our ecosystem is of utmost importance,” Monahan added in a conversation with ESPN. “This really is about a market-to-market exercise and truly understanding … local public health officials, local government officials, what’s happening on the ground through our tournament directors in every single market where we play.”
There are many buzzwords in there, but the primary point is that the show will go on … for now. Monahan was asked the same question recently on CNBC and said his organization was relying on experts like the CDC and World Health Organization, which begs the question, “At what point does a league shut down?”
Hopefully, we don’t have to find that out in the days and weeks ahead, in any of the major sports. But with the virus seemingly not going anywhere, and with what’s gone on globally, there’s a definitely a future version of this that exists in which tournaments are played without fans or, gulp, not even played at all.
The European Tour, and there’s no reason that can’t happen here in the United States. Maybe it won’t get to that point, but in a year full of high-level threats to the PGA Tour, this one remains the most imminent.