The PGA Tour continues to make adjustments to its health and safety protocols following another week of positive COVID-19 tests.
In a memo sent to players Wednesday, the Tour adjusted its stipend program for players and caddies who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“In an effort to further encourage players and caddies to utilize the [at-home test], two significant changes are being made to the stipend program,” the memo read.
To be eligible for the stipend, players and caddies returning from an off week had to have taken the at-home tests, which are provided by the Tour. The stipend for those who test positive was also adjusted to be the same for an at-home or on-site positive test.
PGA Tour players who test positive while at a tournament will now receive $75,000, down from $100,000, while an at-home positive result was increased from $10,000 to a $75,000 stipend.
The stipend for Tour caddies was also adjusted from $1,500 for an at-home positive to $5,000, the same as the stipend is for an on-site positive.
Players and caddies were also reminded that anyone who doesn’t follow the Tour’s safety protocols “or otherwise acts in a reckless manner with respect to the protocols” will not be eligible for the stipend in the case of a positive test.
The memo also outlines the need for players and caddies to be tested immediately if they are identified during contact tracing after a positive test, even if that means being told during an official round.
Prior to the second round of the RBC Heritage, Nick Watney tested positive and Luke List and Vaughn Taylor, who were paired with Watney on Day 1 at Harbour Town, were notified during contact tracing midway through their second round.
“It was hard to concentrate out there for me, just thinking about different stuff, and I wasn't playing my best anyway,” List said. “It would be nice if they had an option you can kind of say if you want to know or not in a situation like that. I would definitely like to find out after the round next time.”
Players wouldn’t be tested in the middle of a round but they need to be told “to ensure he takes every precaution related to social distancing and other protocols out of an abundance of caution for himself, his caddie and other individuals in his group.”