If last week’s Bermuda Championship was any indication, the PGA Tour is lagging behind other professional sports leagues in COVID-19 vaccinations. This could become an issue next year for international players, with the onset of new travel restrictions to enter the United States.
Players and caddies were informed in the most recent “Greensheet” that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will start requiring foreign players and caddies to be fully vaccinated to enter the United States starting on Nov. 8.
“The Policy allows for very limited exemptions. Please note that the PGA Tour is not considered exempt from this policy,” the Tour memo read.
According to a Tour spokesperson, 83 percent of the Tour’s players, caddies and essential staff are fully vaccinated. The circuit does not break down the vaccination rate of its membership by nationality.
Last week’s Bermuda Championship was played with a “short field” (126 players instead of the normal 132 players), because of a variety of reasons, but at least one player declined to make the trip because of the island’s vaccination requirement.
Charlie Beljan tweeted he was “forced” to withdraw from the event because he “didn’t take the jab” and added that “the tour has done an amazing job through this hoax.” That tweet was later deleted.
U.S. citizens do not have to be vaccinated to return to the U.S., but they will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test within one day of travelling. If a U.S. citizen is fully vaccinated, they will need to provide a negative test within no more than three days of travelling.
In October, the NBA reported a vaccination rate of 95 percent and the NFL reported in August that 93 percent of its players were fully vaccinated. In July, Major League Baseball reported that 23 of 30 teams had at least an 85 percent vaccination rate.