PGA Tour

Temperature checks, virus tests part of PGA return

Brooks Koepka (AFP)
Brooks Koepka (AFP)

Coronavirus testing and daily temperature taking will be part of the US PGA Tour's health and safety plan when it returns next month, officials confirmed Wednesday.

The PGA Tour plans to resume without spectators on 11 June at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, where four-time major winner Brooks Koepka says he plans to compete.

Nasal swab tests for the deadly virus, which has shut down the tour for two months, would start when players and caddies perform a pre-travel screening test. They would be tested again when they arrive at event lodging.

When they arrive at the course each day, players and caddies will face health questions and thermometer readings before they can enter.

If a player's temperature is above 100.4 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) on any day, he will be given a coronavirus test.

With up to two days needed for results, golfers will be able to only practice and play - observing social distancing protocols - while awaiting results. They would be banned from other course facilities.

Any player who tests positive for the virus must immediately quarantine at a selected location for at least 10 days. Should a player test positive after making the 36-hole cut, he will be paid last-place prize money.

"We're not going to play if we can't do it in a safe and healthy environment," PGA Tour chief of operations Tyler Dennis said.

Three other events - the Heritage, the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Championship - will be played without spectators, with the John Deere Classic at Sylvis, Illinois, on 9-12 July the first possible event on a revamped schedule that could be open to fans.

Access will be restricted to player and caddie areas and the clubhouse to those who have been cleared by testing, with no families on site.

PGA staff, including rules and scoring officials, security, select clubhouse, tournament and volunteer staff, trainers and coaches will be permitted at the event.

The tour will provide face masks and disinfectant wipes and cover the test costs for players, caddies and essential staff.

Players will retrieve golf balls from holes and are urged to remove and replace their own clubs from the bag.

Caddies can rake bunkers and tend flagsticks but must use sanitary wipes on the equipment after doing so.

And there will be no handshakes after the round.

A tour-hired charter flight will carry players and caddies between tournaments, but they have virus tests within 24 hours of departure. Only those who test negative can board the plane.

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