How will the PGA Tour's numerous international players and caddies make it to Texas for the 11th June restart?
Tommy Fleetwood Stranded In England As PGA Tour Looks Set To Return In June
Tommy Fleetwood is one of at least 25 players and 35 caddies currently outside of the USA less than two months prior to the proposed restart to the season.
There are currently heavy Coronavirus border restrictions in place, meaning that Donald Trump may have to allow players and caddies into the country under exceptional circumstances otherwise the events would have to, you would think, become somewhat unofficial.
Whilst the likes of Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick are all in England right now, one European is currently stranded in Florida.
Rafa Cabrera Bello initially rented a house for two weeks after The Players Championship was cancelled but was then unable to get home to Dubai after the UAE closed its borders.
With travel restrictions in place almost everywhere and PGA Tour players also currently everywhere, it is going to be a big task to start playing again in June.
The Tour is planned to get back underway on 11th June at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
That is if border restrictions are not loosened by then, but for a full tournament week players would be needing to arrive in Texas on Sunday 7th, which is less than seven weeks away.
However, the PGA Tour does have some clout as commissioner Jay Monahan is on Donald Trump’s 100-plus council of executives tasked with reopening the country’s economy.
The PGA Tour, with its huge broadcast deals, certainly plays its part.
Could the Tour be able to charter flights in and out of the country to pick up players to appear in the fan-less events?
Jay Monahan is certainly talking to the right people at least.
The PGA Tour is, according to reports, also hoping to receive around a million Covid-19 tests to help it resume on that 11th June date.
Colonial is to be followed by the RBC Heritage, Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic.
All four tournaments will be played without fans.
Another event that could be played without fans is the Ryder Cup in September at Whistling Straits, after the PGA of America’s CEO Seth Waugh admitted that talks are currently ongoing.
Whether the Ryder Cup now goes ahead this year surely has to be in question as the fans are what makes the event so great.
“For me and Steve (Stricker), neither of us would like a situation where the fans don’t turn up,” European Captain Padraig Harrington told the BBC.
However, the PGA of America will likely do everything in its power to ensure that the match does go ahead, as it would suffer huge financial losses if it didn’t.
Waugh said that “we have begun to talk about whether you could create some virtual fan experience, and we’re going to try to be as creative as we can.”
Even if it did go ahead as planned and without fans, the qualification process would be very messy.
Padraig Harrington told Golf Monthly that there are mathematical formulas in place to decide the team, but with no concrete European Tour restart currently on the cards, the world rankings simply cannot resume and European-based players will have nowhere to play.
That is, as mentioned above, unless the US allows European-based PGA Tour players into the country despite the current heavy travel restrictions.
Will the PGA Tour resume as planned in June?
Will its international players be able to arrive in time for the tournaments?
These are questions that will be answered over the coming weeks.
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