Hours after deciding to proceed as usual with fans at The Players Championship, the PGA Tour has announced Thursday is will prohibit fans from attending the remainder of the championship at TPC Sawgrass.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan called an unplanned news conference for noon Eastern on Thursday, hours into the start of the PGA Tour's biggest event, played at their headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Monahan announced fans already in the gates at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday would be allowed to remain on the grounds through Thursday's first round. Starting on Friday, fans will not be allowed through the gates.
"It goes without saying that this is an incredibly fluid and dynamic situation. We have been and are committed to being responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process," Monahan said in a statement.
"With that as pretext, at this point in time, PGA Tour events -- across all Tours -- will currently proceed as scheduled, but do so without fans. This policy starts at The Players Championship tomorrow (Friday) and continues through the Valero Texas Open. It's important to note, that could change, but for the time being, this decision allows the PGA Tour, our fans and constituents to plan, prepare and respond as events develop."
Monahan said he spoke with President Donald Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis as his team made these decisions.
Further, the Tour will ban all fans from attending next week's Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.; the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas; and the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas.
The PGA Tour is also postponing the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, which was set to be played opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from Feb. 20-23.
The no-fans policy will extend beyond the PGA Tour to PGA Tour Champions, the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, PGA Tour Series China and Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada. PGA Tour Champions is set to play in Mississippi in two weeks at the Rapiscan Systems Classic. The Korn Ferry Tour next week begins a run of three consecutive tournaments in as many weeks. PGA Tour Latinoamerica has two events scheduled in the time frame. PGA Tour Series China had previously suspended its season, and the Mackenzie Tour is not in action.
Meanwhile, Augusta National Golf Club is reportedly considering a variety of options for conducting the Masters Tournament, set to be played April 9-12. Reporting from Golf Magazine and Golf Digest suggests members are looking at conducting the tournament without patrons, or potentially prohibiting access to practice rounds and the Par-3 Contest.
Monahan said he has spoken with the club, but he didn't want to get ahead of their potential announcement.
"I've been in frequent contact with Augusta," he said, "and I'll leave it to them to share their thinking and what they're thinking."