The first major of 2020 is officially a go. The PGA Championship, set to take place Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco, will move ahead as scheduled without fans in attendance, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh confirmed on Monday.
"We are both inspired and honored to 'play on,'" Waugh said. "In doing so, we will spotlight not only the beauty of TPC Harding Park, but the fortitude of San Francisco and its remarkable people. We'd like to thank the state of California and the city and county of San Francisco for being terrific partners in helping us get to this place. While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy."
San Francisco health officials approved a plan from the PGA to host the event at Harding Park last week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The PGA had previously been considering other sites and scenarios in case it did not receive city approval.
The PGA Championship was originally slated for the middle of May as the second major championship of the year, but it will now be the first at the beginning of August. The first PGA Tour event since the coronavirus pandemic began -- the Charles Schwab Challenge -- took place last week at Colonial Country Club without any fans in attendance.
That's how professional golf is going to look for the foreseeable future. The only tournament on the schedule as of right now that has been approved for fans is the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, from July 16-19. The thought of a major championship without spectators is strange, but the Charles Schwab Challenge was well received and a great event even if it was a bit odd.
The PGA Championship will end up being the only major in the 2019-20 PGA Tour season. That season ends a month after the PGA is played, and then the 2020-21 PGA Tour season will start. The first major of that season will be Sept. 17-20 as the U.S. Open is played at Winged Foot. Then the 2020 Masters will be held from Nov. 12-15.
All of this is great for golf, obviously, even without fans. Because of the coronavirus it was always going to be difficult to figure out how to get fans back on the course, especially so at a major where tens of thousands are packed tightly to see the best players in the world.
PGA Tour testing was in place last week at Colonial, and none of the nearly 500 people who were tested came up positive. There is no word yet whether the same testing plan will be put in place by the PGA of America for the PGA Championship or the USGA for the U.S. Open or how the Masters will go about things, but I would imagine it will play out similarly to how the PGA Tour has gone thus far.
Brooks Koepka has won two consecutive PGA Championships at Bellerive Country Club and Bethpage Black and is trying to become the first player in tournament history to win three in a row.