PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said late last year that the circuit has no plans to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for players but it remains to be seen if many of those same athletes will be required to be vaccinated prior to competing in this year’s Olympics in Japan.
Last month, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee chief executive Sarah Hirshland told the Los Angeles Times, “we are certainly very focused on building a vaccine plan. I won’t comment on a firm policy or the plan yet.”
The Games were postponed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are scheduled to begin in July. The International Olympic Committee has encouraged potential athletes to get vaccinated. Whether that becomes mandatory for golfers depends on a number of factors.
“I have not had any discussions to this point with either the U.S. Olympic Committee or the International Golf Federation about a mandate,” said Andy Levinson, the executive director of USA Golf and a senior vice president of tournament administration for the PGA Tour. “Availability and resources and things like that are still getting sorted out around the world and the timeline in which some might receive the vaccine versus others is still to be determined.”
Levinson, who led the Tour’s return to competition following last year’s quarantine, said that while the Tour won’t require players or caddies to be vaccinated at this time it is an advocate for vaccinations.
“It’s up to us, just as it has been in everything related to the virus, to educate. We fully intend to educate all of our constituents on the merits of taking the vaccine,” Levinson said. “We’re not going to require it but we are going to educate them on those merits. By and large, most of our constituents don’t have access to the vaccine yet and may not for the immediate future.”