The 2020 PGA Championship is set to be played at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park, one of the city’s public courses. However, with the San Francisco area proving a relative hotspot for the spread of coronavirus in California, rumors began to swirl that the PGA of America would have to consider canceling or moving the second men’s major of the year.
On March 9, Robert Lusetich reported the PGA of America and PGA Tour had been in talks to use TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., as the contingency host venue for the PGA Championship in the event a move had to be made. The championship is scheduled to be played May 14-17.
I'm told officials from the PGA Tour and PGA are discussing a contingency plan that could move @PGAChampionship from Harding Park in San Francisco to TPC Sawgrass. PGA statement below. #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/vb1JhQtNUp
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) March 9, 2020
TPC Sawgrass hosts this week’s The Players Championship and would already be in optimal condition for the 156-player event that had been played in mid-May for 12 years up until 2019.
However, the PGA of America did not have those plans in place.
Update: PGA now says "reports that the 2020 @PGAChampionship will be relocated from TPC Harding Park are inaccurate. At this time, no such discussions have taken place." However, left door open: "We will follow the guidance of state & city officials & public health authorities"
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) March 10, 2020
According to a source, the PGA of America has deliberated on the subject and has figured the virus may spread significantly nationwide by May, so moving the tournament across the country to avoid it may not help matters. However, if San Francisco or California officials take bolder steps to prevent large gatherings, the PGA of America may have no choice in the matter.
Were the PGA of America to consider moving the championship, they would likely also look at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, a facility the PGA of America owns. While building out the tournament’s infrastructure takes months, the PGA of America would already be wiping out ticket sales and hospitality by moving. The most important need for a move would be a championship-ready course, which the PGA of America could set up at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla.
Brooks Koepka is the two-time defending champion of the PGA Championship.