One month from today, we will have golf. Well, we will hopefully have golf. The PGA Tour is planning on resuming on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, but there are still plenty of complications to work out.
The Tour is expected to provide more formal guidelines for how all of this is going to play out later on this week, but snippets of information have been leaked along the way. Last week,from PGA Tour member Brendon Todd that players were going to be tested three times in a tournament week -- once at home and then twice at the event.
Now, as Alan Shipnuck and Joel Beall have reported, it seems as if there will be quarantined travel from event to event that will be provided by the PGA Tour. In addition, caddies will be allowed to attend and participate in events, although they will likely not be touching the golf clubs.
Caddies will be allowed during PGA Tour's restart, a source tells Golf Digest, but will be discouraged from touching clubs. As for volunteers one tournament said it will test only those working indoors for coronavirus. Everyone else is subject to a thermometer and questionnaire.— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) May 11, 2020
Ooooh, little nugget of news from the Scottsdale Open range: when play resumes the PGA Tour will charter jumbo jets to ferry players and caddies from tournament to tournament, helping to keep them in a germ-free bubble.— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) May 11, 2020
This, of course, is not foolproof, nor is it finalized. We will get more formal (and comprehensive) guidelines later this week, but surely these two will be part of the bigger picture. The idea of caddies carrying clubs but not touching them is pretty fascinating. They would essentially be there to provide emotional and intellectual cover for players as well as ensure players wouldn't have to carry their bags or push carts wouldn't have to be used.
The question I keep coming back to as it relates to all of this is what will happen if somebody tests positive for COVID-19. Is that a wrap on the year? Will it be different if it's a caddie or if it's a player? Is there a threshold for how many people will have to test positive before everything gets shut down? These are maybe unanswerable questions right now, but they have certainly been addressed behind closed doors.
Travel has been another big issue in my mind. This solution of sorts is helpful, but nothing will be 100 percent preventative. I don't know that there's a solution the Tour could even offer -- with so many golfers coming to town from so many different locations -- that would be comprehensive enough to reach the level of certainty everyone would be comfortable with.
So we're left with solutions that are good but not without risk. And that gets at the heart of not just the golf economy but the broader American one, too. How much risk is too much as we reenter an unknown future and try to make the most of a very broken situation.