Fans who attend the Memorial Tournament later this summer won’t just be asked to social distance, technology will make sure they are following directions.
According to Golf Digest, tournament officials for the July 16-19 event at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, will rely on radio frequency identification chips placed in tournament badges to monitor fans’ movements while on the grounds.
The use of RFID technology was among the list of protocols Memorial executive director Dan Sullivan touched on Thursday during a 30-minute virtual call put on by the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
“At any time, we can know around the golf course how many people are collecting in a certain area,” said Sullivan, who noted that the tournament has used this technology for the past four years. “We’re going to use that technology to make sure that we’re protecting everyone around us, protecting the folks that are inside those various venues and make sure that we’re monitoring effectively and producing a tournament that everyone can be comfortable with.”
The RFID chips only identify the location of the badge, not the identity of the person wearing it. In previous years, the technology has helped tournament officials monitor entrances and exits and potential problem areas for crowding throughout the course.
Sullivan said that this year’s marshals will have access to RFID tracking.
“Well, we won’t know if those are all family members, what have you, but our plan is to ask them to separate,” he told Golf Digest in a follow-up call. “The safety of everyone on the grounds is our primary concern.”
Other measures outlined in Sullivan's plan included limited clubhouse access, no grandstands, no cash transactions, temperature checks and elimination of draft beer and fountain drink sales (packaged products only).
The PGA Tour is slated to return to competition on June 11 at Colonial and will hold its first four events back without fans. As of now, the Memorial figures to be the second tournament back to be played with fans in attendance, following the John Deere Classic.