PGA changes course following recent outbreak of COVID-19

Fed Ex Cup PGA Logo
Caption: Sep 2, 2017; Norton, MA, USA; The FedEx Cup Playoffs logo on the 16th hole prior to the second round of the Dell Technologies Championship golf tournament at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If the past few days in Connecticut have taught the sports world anything, it’s that even a seemingly safe game isn’t immune from the ongoing worldwide pandemic.

A total of seven players who were set to take part in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands had to withdraw from the tourney due to positive tests relating to COVID-19. The PGA is now changing its policy.

PGA will not allow players on golf properties without a negative COVID-19 test

“Beginning at next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club, all those considered ‘inside the bubble’ by the PGA Tour — players, caddies, instructors, physiotherapists and staff — will need a negative result before being permitted on the grounds,” ESPN’s Nick Pietruszkiewicz reported Saturday.

Players and other personnel were previously allowed on-site while they awaited COVID-19 test results. That’s obviously not going to be the case moving forward.

Star golfer Brooks Koepka had to withdraw from this week’s event after his caddie tested positive. Others pros had to pull out after Round 1 after they tested positive for the virus.

Sports world returning amid growing pandemic

It has definitely been a learning curve for the PGA in the week-plus since its returned to action following months on the sideline. It could also act as a precursor as team sports return here soon.

The NBA is expecting to continue its season at Walt Disney World in Orlando on July 30. As with the PGA, it’s going to be conducted within a bubble atmosphere.

MLB will return a week before the NBA. Though, that situation is vastly different in that teams will play in their home stadiums without fans in attendance.

COVID-19 cases in the United States

The backdrop here is an increasing number of virus cases throughout the United States. Friday represented a single-day high number of new cases with 44,726. States such as California, Arizona, Florida and Texas have seen dramatic increases within the past week.

At least for the PGA, there’s some good news on this front. Next week’s event is expected to take place in Michigan. That state has not seen a major uptick in cases. From there, it’s not yet known where future tourneys will be held. That’s all dependent on the pandemic.

At the very least, the PGA is changing with the dynamic of the virus itself. Other sports leagues will undoubtedly have to follow suit.