The PGA Tour is preparing to play the 2020 Players Championship.
Late Wednesday, the Tour texted its players competing in this week’s tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., that they should expect to play the first round of the event as scheduled on Thursday.
At 11:13 p.m. Eastern, the Tour sent a multi-message thread to players saying, “We are aware of rapidly changing developments with the NBA schedule and announced US Travel (sic) restrictions from Europe. We will keep you informed as info becomes available. Please be prepared to play tomorrow. Round 1 is on schedule.”
In a public statement early Thursday morning, the Tour confirmed its plans to conduct the tournament as scheduled, admitting ticketed fans. Fans who do not wish to attend out of personal concern will be able to ask for a refund for purchased tickets.
The Players is going on with players and fans as scheduled on Thursday, per a Tour statement. pic.twitter.com/s8hNGAMope
— Ryan Ballengee (@RyanBallengee) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, St. Johns County, where TPC Sawgrass is and the PGA Tour is headquartered, reported its first coronavirus case on Wednesday.
The PGA Tour is expecting some 35,000-40,000 people at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday for the first round.
The Tour’s reaction came hours after the NBA suspended its season following the revelation that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) moments before the Jazz were to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. The NBA acted swiftly to cancel all remaining games until further notice.
The NBA’s announcement was made minutes after President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, announcing a 30-day ban of travel from Europe by foreign nationals from countries affected by the coronavirus. He also announced a variety of other measures he hoped would inspire the nation’s confidence that the federal government is finally taking the disease seriously.
The travel restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in 26 European countries with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days.
Those exempt from these restrictions, such as U.S. citizens, will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 12, 2020
Earlier in the day, the city of San Francisco banned gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks. Washington governor Jay Inslee initiated a similar ban for gatherings of 250 people or more in Seattle.
The NHL, which shares arenas with many NBA teams, will address their plans on Thursday morning.
Also on Wednesday evening, actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson announced on social media they’ve contracted coronavirus and confirmed their diagnosis while traveling in Australia. A Senate aide in Washington, D.C., also tested positive for coronavirus.
College basketball conference tournaments around the country announced Wednesday their plans to continue with tournament games with greatly limited attendance, restricted to coaches, staff, players and players’ immediate families.