As the PGA Tour prepares for its targeted return in two months, commissioner Jay Monahan reiterated Friday that the top priority is creating a safe environment for everyone in the Tour’s ecosystem.
And that starts with testing.
“We need to have widespread, large-scale testing across our country,” Monahan said on NBC Sports Network’s “Lunch Talk Live” with Mike Tirico. “We’re going to need to be able to test players, caddies and other constituents before we return, but we need to do so in a way that’s not going to take away from the critical need that we’re currently facing, and we feel confident, based on the advice that we’re getting from medical experts, that we’ll be in that position.”
Monahan highlighted the roughly 60 players and caddies who are currently living outside the United States and thus would be subject to the international travel ban that is currently in place. As the Tour develops a plan to return, Monahan said, they’re looking at “every single movement” a player and caddie might make over the course of a tournament week and “thinking about what can we do to make that the safest environment possible.”
That echoes what Tour executives Andy Pazder and Tyler Dennis said in a conference call with reporters Thursday, when the Tour announced the schedule for the remainder of the year. On the call they laid out a scenario in which players and caddies could be tested at home before a tournament, once again after arriving in town for the event and then again at the host venue.
“We’re going to need rapid-response, large-scale testing,” Monahan said. “The continued emergence of testing and new testing protocols is very encouraging, and we, like other sports, are spending a lot of time relying on experts and identifying the resources that we need to come back in a safe and responsible way. This is as important as the schedule itself.”
The Tour is scheduled to resume June 11-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.