With the PGA Tour season getting back underway at the Charles Schwab Challenge this week, players and caddies are having to abide by the Tour’s new health and safety protocols. Well, at least they should be, but apparently not everyone is following along.
According to ESPN’s Michael Collins, some players told him that it was ‘business as usual’ at Colonial on Tuesday as they prepare for the first Tour event since March. The Tour took notice and sent a text to players to ‘remember to practice social distancing’ because it is not only critical for health safety but for ‘public presentation’ as well.
— Michael Collins (@ESPNCaddie) June 10, 2020
Brian Wacker of Golf Digest heard the same from players and caddies earlier this week saying that they’re simply doing their own thing when it comes to eating out, lodging, etc.
Had multiple caddies/players tell me they’re not listening to any of the tour’s protocols and will eat out, stay wherever they want, etc. Hoping everyone stays healthy/safe and this goes off well for golf https://t.co/UCjvcmdHNO
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) June 10, 2020
The PGA Tour announced its new health and safety protocols on May 13. While testing and thermal readings are at the forefront of the safety plans, the Tour also set forth a plan to essentially create its own bubble.
Players, caddies, and essential staff are asked to stay in a designated host hotel during the tournament to create a controlled environment, but it’s clear not everyone has elected to go that route. Exceptions such as RVs, rental homes that are approved by the Tour, or a player staying in his own home are allowed.
Players and caddies are also encouraged to social distance with players urged to remove and replace their own clubs from their own bag as well as retrieve their ball from the hole.
It will be interesting to see if the Tour gets more strict when it comes to these new health and safety procedures. I doubt we see any sort of penalty handed out to players if they don’t follow social distancing recommendations, but we’re living in a strange time, anything seems to be on the table at this point.