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Seth Waugh: PGA 'fully prepared' to play major without fans

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PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said his organization currently has three plans in place for hosting the PGA Championship this August. 

In an interview Tuesday on SiriusXM, Waugh said the first option is to play the PGA as currently scheduled: Aug. 6-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco – with spectators. 

The second option is a PGA without fans. 

And the third option is to hold the major championship at another location in the U.S. 

With COVID-19 modeling curves appearing to flatten in certain parts of the country, Waugh said that he’s “very hopeful” the PGA will be played this year.

“The plan is to do it as normally as possible, with fans, obviously, and have a fairly normal PGA Championship at Harding Park,” Waugh said on the radio show. “If the safest way, and/or the only way to do it is without fans, we’re fully prepared to do that. We believe that having it as a television event is worth doing regardless of whether there’s fans there or not. Obviously, that’ll change the experience, but we think the world is starved for some entertainment, and particularly in sports.”

Golf Central Update: PGA weighs allowing fans at PGA Championship

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Waugh said golf has built-in advantages during this global health crisis – it’s played over a couple hundred acres, so players can socially distance – and has the “unique ability to be first out in sports.” 

“We think that, if we had to stage it with no fans, we can get 1,000ish people on the property and that if testing is available, you’d be able to do that in a safe and responsible way and get it done,” he said. 

It remains to be seen whether a major in California is even feasible this year. Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he does not anticipate having crowds at sporting events this year. 

If California or San Francisco decide they cannot host the PGA, Waugh said, then the organization could potentially find an alternative venue. 

“It makes it simpler if there aren’t any fans to think about things like that,” he said. “We don’t certainly have a plan C right now, but we’d be prepared to think about that if that became a possibility. We’re going to do everything we can to play the PGA Championship this year.”