Column: Anniversary marks progress of pandemic, not the end
The PGA Tour went for most of nine months without fans and a year later is just now starting to get them back. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The backdrop was a navy blue board filled with 33 logos of The Players Championship. The tour has played 36 out of the 39 weeks since it returned, stopping only because of holidays, not an outbreak. Players received a text late at night after the first round saying that The Players Championship was canceled and there would be no tournaments for at least a month (it turned into three months). AdMonahan remembers missing the opening tee shot for the first time since he joined the PGA Tour as executive director of The Players Championship.
A pandemic, a plan and a return to golf with no interruption
Kevin Kisner tees off on the 10th hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is ready for golf to move ahead a year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sport. He remembers a tough week one year ago that began with the tour announcing a multi-billion dollar media rights deal and ended with the tour shutting down for three months. The tour got a big boost from a mobile testing site and cooperation from its players to put health and safety first. Since the return in June, the PGA Tour has played 33 out of 36 weeks in 18 states and four countries without having to shut down.
Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality
FILE - Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., in this Dec. 19, 2020, file photo. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)The PGA Tour without Tiger Woods was always inevitable purely because of age. “Listen, when Tiger wants to talk about golf, we'll talk about golf,” Commissioner Jay Monahan said at the World Golf Championship in Florida. The timing was impeccable, for the PGA Tour negotiated a television contract that made prize money spike. At the World Golf Championship this week, first place alone is worth $1.82 million.
Fitzpatrick takes early lead as Riviera proves tough test
(AP Photo/Ryan Kang)LOS ANGELES – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan looked across Riviera in the early stages of the Genesis Invitational on Thursday and purposely stated the obvious. Great players were on a great golf course, and the first round was shaping up to be a draw. Riviera was in mint condition, and being dry and firm made it tougher than it might have looked. 10, among the best short par 4s in America. He didn't feel much different at Riviera, which he has played for a decade from his time at UCLA.
PGA Tour hopeful for return of fans, pushing ahead without
FILE - PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan reacts to a question during a news conference at The Players Championship golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in this Friday, March 13, 2020, file photo. Monahan says tournaments next year are prepared to break even without the return of fans. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)Amid hopes for the return of fans on the PGA Tour next year, Commissioner Jay Monahan says tournaments are prepared financially to do without and still break even on operating costs. Monahan said it was too early to determine how or when the vaccine would help with the full return of fans. “We still have a lot of interest in bringing a PGA Tour event to San Francisco,” Monahan said.
Champ speaks out on racial injustice with shoes and words
Then, with powerful words about a desire to find a solution to racial injustice. Champ is one of four players of Black heritage on the PGA Tour, and one of only two -- the other is Tiger Woods -- who reached the second of three events in the FedEx Cup postseason. When people say all lives matter, yes, all lives matter, but so do Black lives, Champ said. He had a gallery Thursday at an event with no specators, including PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan for the last few holes of his opening nine holes. The PGA Tour supports them and any of our own members standing up for issues they believe in, the statement said.
Berger a winner at Colonial, and PGA Tour feels like it, too
The tour administered 487 tests for the new coronavirus at Colonial, and the results on all of them came back negative. Berger made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and heard the deafening silence of a big moment with no spectators allowed at Colonial. He got into a playoff when Collin Morikawa missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win and Xander Schauffele missed his try from 25 feet. Justin Rose had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th that looked good all the way until it wasn't. He finished one behind along with Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Kokrak, who also missed birdie chances on the last hole.
A safe return for golf as Berger wins Colonial in a playoff
Daniel Berger poses with the championship trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament after a playoff round at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, June 14, 2020. Berger saved par from behind the 17th green on the first playoff hole and won when Collin Morikawa missed a 3-foot par putt. Berger closed with a 4-under 66, his 28th consecutive round at par or better dating to Oct. 11 at the Houston Open. And then his 3-foot par putt on the 17th hole dipped in one side of the hole and spun out of the other. His 25-foot birdie putt to join the playoff came up just short and he shot 69.
With a swing and silence, PGA Tour gets back to business
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)FORT WORTH, Texas With one swing met with silence, the PGA Tour got back to business Thursday at Colonial. Ryan Palmer was selected to hit the opening tee shot at the Charles Schwab Challenge as a Colonial member who raised money for COVID-19 pandemic relief through his Pros For A Purpose campaign. The last PGA Tour event was March 12 at The Players Championship for the opening round. The tour first announced there'd be no fans the rest of the week, and by the end of the day canceled the tournament and eventually 10 more. Players also were told they should handle their own clubs, and caddies should wipe down flagsticks after handling them.
Tour recognizes racial injustice with moment of silence
Players at the 8:46 a.m. tee time paused to pay their respects to the memory of George Floyd for a moment of silence, prayer and reflection. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)FORT WORTH, Texas Colonial already was quiet with no spectators around for the return of the PGA Tour on Thursday. As the PGA Tour commits to amplifying voices and efforts to end systemic issues of racial and social injustices, we have reserved the 8:46 tee time to pause for a moment of silence, prayer and reflection, Monahan said. Harold Varner III, one of four PGA Tour players of black heritage, was the strongest voice. He also pointed to Woods, not only as prolific a winner the PGA Tour has ever seen, but a player with a multiracial heritage.
PGA Tour to hold minute of silence at 8:46 to honor Floyd
FORT WORTH, Texas FORT WORTH, TexasThe PGA Tour is leaving the 8:46 a.m. tee time vacant this week at Colonial as part of a tribute to George Floyd and to support efforts to end racial and social injustice. In a memo to players Tuesday, Commissioner Jay Monahan said there would be a moment of silence in each of the four rounds at the Charles Schwab Challenge that will coincide with the 8:46 a.m. tee time. It has quickly become a universal symbol for the racial injustice faced by the black community, the memo said. The PGA Tour has been shut down the last three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it returns at Colonial with attention shared among the health and safety of running a tournament and the civil unrest sparked by Floyd's death across the country. Monahan and Harold Varner III, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, had a 10-minute conversation last week that the tour posted to its website to try to figure out ways golf could do its part.
Golf makes a conservative return with an eye on the long run
What hasn't changed is his belief that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over just because golf is back. Greg Abbott this week moved the state to Phase III in the recovery that allows outdoor events at 50% capacity. At that time it was very unclear where we would be with safety and testing, Monahan said. Information was changing by the minute.Now that golf is returning, Monahan couldn't predict when spectators would return. The conversation was scheduled before the protests began, and Varner was chosen because he's on the Player Advisory Council and golf was ready to resume.
Golf authorities to discourage slow play
Both the Players Championship and the US Open's winning purse rocketed to $12.5 million last year. Yet in recent weeks the sport has undergone something of a crisis of confidence in the slow play of some leading players. Notably, American Bryson DeChambeau was criticized by his fellow professionals at the Northern Trust event in New Jersey earlier this month. Shortly afterwards, the European Tour announced new protocols that could see players penalized with penalty strokes for slow play in the future. We're talking to our players and our players advisory council and we're going to use this as an opportunity to improve.