PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has denied reports that May’s US PGA Championship could be moved from San Francisco to Sawgrass due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
However, Monahan admits that the Tour is continuing to make contingency plans “for a lot of different scenarios” around its own tournaments “given that this is an unprecedented situation”.
The South by Southwest festival which was due to take place from March 13-22 in Austin, Texas was cancelled last week but the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is currently scheduled to be held in Austin from March 25-29.
“The health, safety and well-being of our players, our fans, everybody that’s involved in our ecosystem is of utmost importance,” Monahan told a press conference ahead of the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
“It’s a very dynamic situation but I am really proud of the amount of effort and thought that’s going into not only where we stand today, but the commitment to gain as much information as we can and, candidly, to contingency plan for a lot of different scenarios given that this is an unprecedented situation.
“At this point everybody is planning on moving forward full speed ahead exercising their tournaments but also keeping an open mind to the information that’s coming there.”
The PGA of America said in a statement that reports that the US PGA Championship would relocate from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco to Sawgrass were “inaccurate”.
But although Monahan also said that was the case, he stressed the need for golf’s authorities to “work as closely together as you ever have to help each other get through this.”
Race to Dubai
Monahan added: “We’ve really got to listen and respond to the real information that we’re receiving on the ground and it’s important for us to present a completed FedEx Cup schedule this year. If we can do that, that’s what we’re going to do as good partners to the game.”
Several sports have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by playing matches behind closed doors and Monahan hinted that holding the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play without spectators present could be an option.
“This thing is so dynamic that we have to go hour to hour, day to day, but right now we have every assurance that we will be in Austin for the event,” he added.
“There are different ways of operating an event based on the circumstances in terms of fan involvement and how we operate the event.”