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Golf industry responds to coronavirus

By |  May 28, 2020 0 Comments

Editor’s note: We will continue to update this post as information becomes available.

 

Updated May 28, 2020

Back2Golf updates Operations Playbook

The industrywide Back2Golf initiative has updated its Operations Playbook (version 3.0) to help lead the responsible return of golf.

The updated playbook and addendums provide recommendations that guide the industry as it reestablishes amateur competitive events and junior programming, which are part of Back2Golf’s second phase plans.

Announced in early May, Back2Golf is driven by key stakeholders of We Are Golf, a division of the World Golf Foundation created in 2010 to spearhead initiatives on behalf of the game. Supporting organizations include Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America, the United State Golf Association, PGA TOUR, LPGA, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), and Club Management Association of America (CMAA), among others.

Click here to learn more.

 

Updated May 27, 2020

SOLitude Lake Management launches Hometown Heroes program

To recognize the exceptional efforts of health care workers in this time of need, SOLitude Lake Management has helped launch the Hometown Heroes program.

Through this new program, SOLitude’s team of freshwater management professionals delivered care packages to deserving healthcare, childcare, senior living and military organizations in their local communities across Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Colorado and Arizona. Each package contained handwritten notes, entertainment and restaurant gift cards, snacks, branded gear and additional goodies. Team members also delivered catered meals to clients and valued partner organizations. In collaboration with SOLitude’s parent company, Rentokil, colleagues were able to impact more than 6,000 individuals throughout the nation.

Read more here. 

 

Updated May 18, 2020

Smithco offers no payments for 6 months on its products

To help support the golf industry at a time when so many courses are tightening their budgets, Smithco is offering no payment for six months on any Smithco product.

Read more here.

 

Updated May 11, 2020

Paul Foley, a golf industry leader who served as executive director of the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), died of complications from the coronavirus on April 17.

Foley had already retired from a successful career as an executive at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and several automotive industry groups when he found a way to combine his passion for golf with his management abilities at GCBAA. He served from 2006 to 2011 when he turned over the reins to current executive director Justin Apel who had served as his second-in-command.

Read more here.

Updated May 8, 2020

Keeping a safe distance in San Luis Obispo County

Of the trio of San Luis Obispo County golf courses in California — Morro Bay GC, Dairy Creek GC and Chalk Mountain GC — only Dairy Creek had to close due to the pandemic, according to superintendent Josh Heptig.

“The good thing is that in our area, our public health director and our county CEO have both been adamant that golf is an essential activity in our county from day one,” Heptig says. “We worked really hard to try and make sure that golf stayed open.”

Dairy Creek GC was closed because of its location in a large regional park that was shut down because it was a designated area where the infected homeless population could be quarantined. While that course is closed, the crew members have been able to aerify the roughs, greens and fairways.

Read more here.

 

Updated May 5, 2020

In a time of pandemic, golf is a healthy activity

When Golfdom spoke to Mark Newton, CGCS, at Canyon Farms Golf Club in Lenexa, Kan., certain counties in Kansas had shut golf down completely, but it was regional.

Newton is also the president of The Heart of America Chapter GCSAA, so he has worked with mayors and councilmen to get golf back open in the state. Golf is an essential business in Johnson County, where Canyon Farms is located, and Newton says his course is considered in the same bracket as a park.

On his course, it’s one person per cart, and while some courses in Kansas have banned carts for public safety, he understands why carts are still allowed on his course.

“It’s a solid 7 miles up and down hills,” he says. “It’s a long walk. I’ve had to do it when equipment breaks down, and it’s not fun.

Read more here.

 

Updated May 4, 2020

Target Specialty Products to host webinar on coronavirus

Target Specialty Products will release the sixth part of the Turf Fuel Master Class, “Golfing through Change with COVID-19 — Part II” on May 7.

The free webinar, which is part of the Business Growth Webinar Series, features a golf course superintendent panel discussing closures and golf course maintenance during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to register for the webinar.

Read more here.

 

Syngenta donates to GCSAA’s COVID-19 relief fund

Syngenta will donate $15,000 to GCSAA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) members who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are fortunate we can partner with the GCSAA to help superintendents who have been impacted by COVID-19 and its effects on the golf industry,” said Scott Reasons, head of Syngenta Professional Solutions for the Americas. “Syngenta wants superintendents to know we are always there to support them, but especially during this crisis that is unlike anything we have ever seen. We hope this donation will be helpful for offsetting some of the burden superintendents and their families may be experiencing.”

Learn more about the donation here.

 

Updated May 1, 2020

COVID-19 has changed some aspects of the game of golf. But, the consensus among superintendents during Golfdom’s webinar “Tech Talks, Episode 1: Dealing with weeds/diseases in a pandemic,” sponsored by FMC Professional Solutions, is the course does not take a break.

“The living beast does not rest regardless of a virus,” said Alex Stuedemann, CGCS, director of golf course maintenance operations, TPC Deere Run in East Moline, Ill.

Andy Eick, director of facilities and agronomy, Mohawk Golf Club, Schenectady, N.Y., said his area has been up and down with cold weather. So, it’s made the management of his course interesting.

“I’m using a combination of cold weather and PGRs keep the turf under control,” he said.

Read more here.

 

Updated April 27, 2020

Landmark Golf Course Products offers free COVID covers

Landmark Golf Course Products has made its COVID Covers free of charge.

These guards allow for the safest and most realistic game of golf possible during this pandemic, said the company. To avoid potential germ spreading, the U.S. Golf Association recommends raising the cup above the ground and hitting it with the ball to finish the hole.

Read more here.

 

Updated April 23, 2020

NGF releases results of 4th survey

The National Golf Foundation’s (NGF) fourth national survey of golf facilities revealed that 49 percent of courses in the U.S. were open for play last week.

This figure has risen slightly over the past weeks and the organization expects it to continue to do so as warmer weather creeps further north. Wisconsin allows walking-only play, some private clubs are reopening to members in New York and golf operations resume in a few California counties.

Read more here.

 

Updated April 13, 2020 

Upswing in rounds at Cordillera Ranch Golf Club

Cordillera Ranch Golf Club in Boerne, Texas, has seen an uptick in rounds since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jeff Elderidge, director of agronomy.

However, Elderidge admits there’s some talk that the state of Texas may prohibit playing golf in the near future. In fact, some cities and counties in Texas have already banned golf, including San Antonio.

If that were to happen at The Club at Cordillera Ranch, Elderidge says the maintenance staff would perform some of the agronomic practices that were planned for later in the spring and early summer.

“We would take advantage of that lack of play to get some of those knocked out while we could,” Elderidge says.

Read more here. 

 

Take Golfdom’s COVID-19 survey

The Golfdom team hopes you are safe and well. We’re working hard to stay current on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting our industry.

Please take a few minutes to respond to our survey and let us know how you, your crew and your facility are doing in these stressful times.

Click here to take our survey.

 

FMC to accelerate rebate checks for True Champions program

FMC Professional Solutions is accelerating the issue of rebate checks to end users enrolled in the FMC True Champions program.

Lawn care companies and golf course end users who earned a rebate for participating in the 2019 FMC True Champions Program and/or the FMC 2019 Early Order Program will now receive their full rebate checks by May 30. These checks were originally planned to arrive by June 30.

In a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak, FMC also will extend 90-day terms on all agency stock-keeping units in an effort to help end user customers.

Read more here.

 

USGA establishes $5M relief fund

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has established an emergency relief fund for its 59 Allied Golf Association (AGA) members with an investment of up to $5 million.

The funding will come in the form of grants to help ensure business continuity and staffing levels during this time of hardship. Individual AGAs may apply for up to $100,000; additional financial assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The application process will begin on Monday, April 13 and continue through the summer as needed. The USGA is committed to providing additional funding should the business disruption be prolonged.

Read more here. 

 

Spiio offers free sensors to golf courses affected by COVID-19

Spiio is offering free sensors to golf courses affected by COVID-19.

Since many clubs are experiencing layoffs and reduced hours for their grounds’ staff, Spiio recognizes that having access on a phone to data on the greens is more important than ever before.

Read more here.

 

Target Specialty Products to host “Golfing Through Change with COVID-19” webinar

Target Specialty Products will host “Golfing Through Change with COVID-19,” an interactive panel discussion with golf course superintendents to discuss the superintendent’s perspective on closures and maintenance during the COVID-19 crisis.

The webinar will be on Thursday, April 16, 2020 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST. It is part five of the Turf Fuel Master Class, a business growth webinar series.

Read more here.

 

Florida GCSA donates to GCSAA’s disaster relief fund

Money that would have paid for an annual get-together of past leaders of the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association is instead going to help superintendents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florida GCSA past-presidents dinner, in conjunction with the state spring board meeting, is a high point on the association’s annual calendar. But this year, because of stay at home orders, that meeting will be conducted online.

“But our board decided, since the money was already in the budget, we would go ahead and spend it, except this year, we would give it to GCSAA’s Disaster Relief Fund,” Florida GCSA president Nick Kearns, from The Oaks Club in Sarasota, said.

Read more here.

 

Updated April 10, 2020

Sunny days at Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun GC in Baltic, Conn., hasn’t yet opened for the season, so the facility hasn’t taken a huge blow due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Once the facility does open for the season, it can expect golfers as the governor of Connecticut has declared that golf can continue in the state with modified measures, such as practicing social distancing and staying on top of sanitizing equipment. Read more here. 

 

April 7, 2020

Shut down in Minnesota due to COVID-19

It’s been “stay in place” for Bret Kirchner, golf course superintendent with Victory Links Golf Course at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., for a little more than three weeks when Golfdom had a chance to speak with him.

The National Sports Center is a 600-acre multisport complex in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Victory Links Golf Course is the only PGA Tour-designed public course in the state. The course has 18 holes that cover about 400 acres.

Kirchner says there wasn’t much to prepare for in terms of getting the grass ready because when the stay-in-place order was put in place in mid-March, there was still snow on the ground. For more about how Kirchner’s managing, click here.

 

March 30, 2020

Nothing’s normal at Aldarra GC

“I refuse to use the word normal,” says Sean Reehoorn superintendent of Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash. “We’re really strict on the social distancing,” noting that his crew does solo work, with the exception of the two employees who live together. Morning meetings are held with employees staying 6 feet apart.

Reehoorn says social distancing is going to make him a better manager of his crew, noting “I’m going to be more hands-off.”

He says he has to trust his employees will do the job they’re asked to do, instead of him “standing right next to them, saying ‘This is exactly how you need to do this.”

And he says expectations of managing a golf course during COVID-19 have to change. “Our goal is to not let the golf course decline.”

And with all the sanitizing, social distancing and new realities of this world, he wonders how much of what’s in place now will become standard.

“What are all the things that are not going to go away?” he says. “What’s the new standard going to be July 1, 2020?”

Personally, Reehoorn says his family shops for groceries online. And he’s encouraging his team to practice both gratitude and appreciation, as this “gives us an opportunity to be present in our lives.”

And he says the course is doing what it can to take care of its employees.

“We’ve spent our whole career putting the golf course first,” he says. “We encourage the staff to try to focus on their family, that’s far more important than being here.”

Keeping communications going

Rhett Evans and his team at GCSAA are working late hours from home, trying to do all they can to make sure their membership and the game is being served.

The Government Relations and the Field Staff were among the busiest departments at the association, trying to keep communication open with members and Washington, D.C.

“Golf is a specialty crop. You have to water it, you have to take care of it,” Evans says. “We’re crafting language — not asking that golf courses stay open — but that you can work in a safe way and be spread out over 150 acres. But every time I turn around, something changes.”

Evans was hopeful that people will be allowed to play golf, calling it a respite from the current chaos. “You can apply the (Center for Disease Control) standards, you can do the social distancing,” he says. “And at the same time, you can be in nature and clear your mind. It’s important we do that for our own mental health.”

As far as how the pandemic might affect the association and golf itself, Evans can only guess.

“For now, all committee meetings and Rounds 4 Research have been canceled. Everything is being pushed to the third and fourth quarter,” Evans says. “At that point, we’ll look at the golf economy and how far courses have fallen back. It’s going to be a short golf season for a lot of states. We’re in for a wild ride. But we want golf to still move forward.”

Reducing staff

Corey Barnes, golf course superintendent at Chambersburg Country Club in Chambersburg, Penn., says that with two new employees this year, he’s had to get creative on now to manage his crew. He split his crew so that each crew works every other week, so each team had experienced equipment operators.

“I had to take my best guys and split them up, so we have operators on both crews. If somebody got sick, at least I’d have enough staff to maintain the golf course to a reasonable standard.”

With employees working six-hour days, Monday through Friday every other week, the club has encouraged the maintenance staff to apply for unemployment because of the reduction of hours.

The club also has banned golf carts, and the clubhouse and range facility are closed. Coolers are out and disinfected. Flag sticks are still out and wiped down after use. Golfers are encouraged to use gloves to remove the flag or a towel to remove the ball from the cup.

Barnes says the course just moved from a two-cup system on greens. He’s considering moving back, but wonders, “Does that create another spot for contact?”

Rounds are up, but Barnes says that’s likely because of the pleasant weather. But, as far as the future of the course, Barnes says he and his crew are going to do the best they can to keep the course in a playable shape.

“We can’t get it all done with a half-crew. But we’re going to maintain it to a reasonable standard.”

Things change every day

“Things change every day according to national news and state news — it’s all pretty unknown right now and everyone’s on edge,” says Steve Link, superintendent at Skagit Golf & Country Club north of Seattle, where the first outbreak in the United States was reported.

“If we do have to close, I’m pretty sure people would just come onto the course, but we haven’t discussed the possibility of closing yet … my gut feeling is that it won’t affect golf much at all,” he notes.

Link says that because of nice weather in the area, a surprising amount of golf is being played on the course. “Everyone’s antsy to get on the golf course and get into the fresh air and sunshine,” he says.

Start times for Link’s seven-person crew have been staggered by 10-15 minutes. They use a white board for the day’s jobs and communicate via text to maintain social distance.

Aside from removing flags and bunker rates and covering cups, everything gets a bath in bleach and water solution—keys, steering wheels, gates.

In the event that he’ll have to cut some staff, the club’s members have offered to pay up to two weeks for any hours missed, and according to Link, there are programs like emergency unemployment in case hours get cut drastically.

Looking ahead, the future is uncertain, just like it is around the rest of the country. For now, he says, “We do have work if people are able to come in and want to come in.”

 

Updated: March 20, 2020

“Things are … different,” says Jacob Close, superintendent at Sudden Valley Golf Course in Bellingham, Wash.

Close has an insider’s perspective on the efforts to control the coronavirus in the Pacific Northwest. His wife, Natasha, is on the front lines studying the coronavirus as an epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

Armed with her knowledge, Close is doing everything to keep his crew as far from each other as possible, and everything in the shop as clean as possible.

On a larger scale, he credits the work of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association for following up with golf courses to see what they were doing and presenting that information to the state to ensure it is aware of how golf courses are making their facilities safe for visitors.

It’s a waiting game to see how state officials react to changes in the progression of COVID-19. In the meantime, Sudden Valley is trying to finish up some irrigation work, and Close says he’s planning for wall-to-wall plant growth regulator and fungicide applications in case the course shuts down for several weeks.

“Our commitment is to keep our people working, but there’s just a 50/50 chance we’ll be able to keep them employed over the summer,” Close says. “Tournaments have been a big hit for us, losing 90 percent of their bookings through May. If that continues to happen, you could see budgets negatively affected for several years.”

He thinks back to his experience working at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore. during 9/11. “Stuff changed after that that we never came back from,” he said. “Staffing levels weren’t the same … and when we did eventually come back from that, there was nobody to hire.

“There’s some real doomsday predictions, but I don’t think you’ll see the closures of courses for the rest of the year. But I could be wrong.”

 

Updated: March 19, 2020

Kafka Granite is pledging to support local restaurants in Wisconsin. In a post on Facebook, the company said “Each day, we will be purchasing lunch for one of our facilities and each week we’ll feature a new local restaurant. We challenge other businesses to do the same, wherever you are! We understand we are facing tough economic times, so do what you can. If we all do a little, it will add up to a lot!”

 

Updated March 18, 2020

The PGA Tour has canceled four more events: RBC Heritage (April 13-19); Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 20-26); Wells Fargo Championship (April 27-May 3); and AT&T Byron Nelson (May 4-10).

The PGA Championship (May 14-17) has been postponed for a later date to be announced. The Regions Tradition was rescheduled to Sept. 24-27 and the Mastercard Japan Championship will not be played due to travel advisories put in place by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the U.S. State Department.

First USGA championships also canceled

USGA has canceled the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, originally scheduled for April 25-29 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Fla., and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, originally scheduled for May 23-27 at Philadelphia (Pa.) Cricket Club. 

In addition, the USGA has canceled first stage qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Open and qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open. USGA says it will look to reconfigure qualifying moving forward. As of now, the U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club and the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club are still moving forward.

Bayer committed to providing business continuity

As of March 17, Bayer remains committed to providing business continuity in its daily operations and ensuring it delivers on commitments to customers around the world to the greatest extent possible under these challenging circumstances.

For its Crop Science product supply, R&D and seed production sites, the company has staffing plans in place to maintain plant and facility operations in order to provide customers with the products and services they depend on.

Bayer is also committed to keeping customers informed of any changes that may come in the days or weeks to follow. The safety and well-being of its employees, customers, business partners and the communities in which they live and work remains a top priority.

 

Updated March 16, 2020

For Kasey Kauff, director of grounds at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, the biggest concern he’s facing with the coronavirus where his PGA Tour event — the AT&T Byron Nelson — falls right in the middle of an eight-week window that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against gatherings of 50 people or more.

“We’re in this weird window,” Kauff says. “If our tournament was in July, I would be less concerned. The longer we wait, the more money we spend if we have (the event) or not.”

Kauff says volunteers will be coming in from across the country — and the globe — for the tournament, and there are hotel blocks and other preparations that come with the tournament.

“We want a concrete decision made,” he says. “It’s this weird place of ‘I don’t know.’ I feel sorry for the guys and girls of other clubs who were built out and got other things ready. Until someone tells us otherwise, we’re just going business as usual.”

Kauff says there are people out playing golf on his course, but the weather hasn’t been that conducive to golfing.

And, several school districts in North Texas have extended spring break to three weeks, and Kauff says play is often down when families go on vacations timed with spring break. But, these circumstances are different.

And, Kauff says he has a few employees coming back from Latin American countries that he’s encouraging them to go into self-quarantine for two weeks just to be on the safe side.

He adds that he thinks golf is a great opportunity to get outside.

“Playing golf at a golf course is a great way to social distance yourself,” he says. “You’re 30 yards away. Play golf!”

Golfdom reached Andy Wilson, director of grounds at Bethpage State Park, on Monday afternoon, March 16, as he was driving around the course with foursomes scattered about the Yellow Course.

“We’re cutting greens today — the Yellow Course is open,” he says.

This past weekend (March 13-15) at Bethpage, the Blue, Yellow and Green courses were open. The venue hosted the 2019 PGA Championship on its Black Course.

“The clubhouse was saying that golfers were happy to be out of the house and happy that we were open,” Wilson says. “It’s surreal to be the facility that’s open when a lot of other things are closing.”

He says that crew members are being more vigilant about hygiene and hand washing. He says that he had a crew meeting this morning to communicate that their safety is the most important issue at hand.

“If they aren’t feeling well and they have to stay home, or if they have to be caretakers for kids that are home — we’re obviously going to approve that. It would be pretty silly of us to hold people to a pretty high standard with such unknowns,” he explains.

He adds, “We’re doing our best to get the season underway, but what employer would keep their employee at work in the middle of a quarantine if they didn’t want to be? There are much bigger things happening,” he says. “For me, when I heard that New York City schools are going to be closed until April 20, that means we’re in this for a good four to six weeks.”

Be prepared for ‘anything’

Chambers Bay Golf Course, in University Place, Wash., is near the epicenter of the Seattle COVID-19 outbreak. But, Eric Johnson, director of agronomy, says it’s still status quo for the course.

“As for golf maintenance, nothing has changed yet,” Johnson says as of Monday, March 16. “We have a near-full tee sheet through this weekend. We are communicating with the staff to be prepared for ‘anything’ regarding their schedule.”

A college golf tournament that was to be held next month at the course was canceled.

Johnson does expect that school closings in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties will likely impact him as well as his staff.

“We are in uncharted territory with this pandemic, and the situation is pretty fluid,” he says. “We are expecting to have illness-related absences and will encourage staff to err on the side of caution by staying home if necessary. Fortunately, the turfgrass is still transitioning out of winter, so there’s not a big demand for mowing. The priority is staying healthy; the golf course will be here tomorrow.”

Johnson says he’s reminding staff that there is sick time and vacation time, and they are to use it if they feel sick. He’s encouraging his staff to do basic things like wash hands and increase the cleaning frequency of high-contact items such as steering wheels, seats, doorknobs, railings, etc.

Helpful planning 

McCord Golf Safety shared a checklist via Twitter from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noting “By now you must have at least considered how the coronavirus may impact your golf course and specifically your maintenance team. Here’s a checklist from HHS and CDC that may be helpful in your planning.”

GCSAA staff transitions to remote operations

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) says the organization will modify its operations for the foreseeable future to assist in reducing the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The transition is effective Monday, March 16.

The association says no GCSAA team member has tested positive for the virus, this move is out of an abundance of caution and the headquarters building will not be open to the public. 

“We are very fortunate that we invested in the technology to be able to continue to provide the high level of member service we are known for while keeping the health and safety of our members and staff at the forefront,” Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO says. “We will continue to monitor the situation to determine when we feel it is safe to return to our traditional operation.”

GCSAA members can continue to access all of GCSAA’s websites, and they can continue to receive assistance by calling 800-472-7878 or emailing mbrhelp@gcsaa.org or reaching out to staff at their direct numbers or email. A full list of GCSAA contacts is available at https://www.gcsaa.org/contact.

 

Originally published March 13, 2020

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced all PGA Tour events, starting with The Players Championship and continuing through the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas, are canceled due to concerns over the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

“Even though we feel we have a safe environment, and we’ve done all the right things, we can’t proceed,” he said. “It’s not right to proceed.”

Monahan pointed to the closing of two major theme parks in Florida as an indication of the magnitude of the decision.

“We just felt like given all those factors, it was time to move on,” he said.

Masters follows suit

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, last week said everything was going to continue as planned at Augusta National. However, as of March 13, The Masters, along with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, will be postponed.

“Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances,” Ridley said in a statement. “Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”

Ridley says Augusta National will continue to work with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the Governor of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the City of Augusta and all other local authorities and updates will be posted to Masters.com.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we seek your understanding of this decision and know you share our concern given these trying times,” Ridley said.

No change to USGA 

The United States Golf Association (USGA), which stages the U.S. Open has released the following response:

 “The USGA has been carefully monitoring all information available regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and remains focused on the health and safety of the USGA community, including our staff, players, officials, volunteers and spectators. We have established an internal task force and are communicating on a regular basis with our peers in the golf community and the broader sports world as information on this evolving issue continues to be shared. Our leadership continues to follow current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization and will remain vigilant in working with local and state authorities to monitor the virus and its implications for the entire USGA community.

Our championship season begins in late April and runs through September, with the U.S. Open being played in June, and as of today, we have not made any decisions to alter this schedule. We are committed to being proactive in updating our constituents regarding any changes and will provide more information as it becomes available. We will take action in the event there are direct impacts to our people or our championships, including our qualifiers.”

 



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