PGA golf return to feel a 'little weird'

PGA Tour action will return this week after a three-month hiatus due to coronavirus, with the world's best golfers to adhere to strict health protocols.

10-Jun-2020 By Australian Associated Press
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Tiger Woods and the fans will be missing when competitive golf returns this week after a three-month hiatus due to coronavirus.

The Charles Schwab Challenge will otherwise get the full major treatment with a strong field on display, including an Australian contingent that features Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith.

Led by world No.1 Rory McIlroy, the world's top five players and 101 PGA Tour winners will be at the stately Colonial Country Club outside Forth Worth, Texas.

Play starts on Thursday in the first tournament since the Players Championship was halted in mid-March by the pandemic.

With NASCAR, IndyCar and the UFC already back in action, the PGA Tour will become the latest sport to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown in North America.

But like the conditions surrounding those sports, golfers will be returning to a very different looking arena where social distancing and the results of nasal swabs and thermal scans will be as important as what they put on their scorecards.

"If we all want to get back and play the game that we love and not just for us but for the fans and everybody at home, we're just going to have to get over the fact that it's going to be different and be a little weird," world No.4 Justin Thomas told reporters after a practice round on Tuesday.

The most jarring change will be the absence of galleries that would normally flock to any tournament featuring the world's best players.

Golf's biggest name and winner of 15 majors, Woods will be the only noticeable absentee in the elite field as he continues to get his game in shape after recovering from back issues.

Television coverage of the Charles Schwab will include a few new features like augmented reality technology virtual signage while some golfers will wear microphones in an effort to liven up a subdued soundtrack.

"The atmosphere will definitely be different," Thomas said.

"But then again, everything is different than what we've been used to the last three months."

Despite the talent-laden field, Thomas expects a dip in the quality of play "because of rust".

Spain's world No.2 Jon Rahm said he did not pick up a club for seven weeks during the lockdown.


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