Florida governor Ron DeSantis made headlines this week when he declared World Wrestling Entertainment and other sports enterprises, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as essential services. His declaration made it legal for those businesses to hold events under his executive order, provided social distancing and other guidelines were followed.
In his April 9 memo to the Department of Emergency Management, DeSantis wrote that “employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience -- including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production -- only if the location is closed to the general public” can be a part of events.
This exemption would also open the door for Orlando-based Golf Channel to resume production in their studios.
In a news conference on April 14, DeSantis was asked the motivation behind the change in policy. The governor responded by saying that Americans are starved for some semblance of normal, and he hopes Florida can provide a backdrop for that -- including golf.
DeSantis said he would look forward to potentially hosting a rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, which Mickelson has publicly said is in the works.
The PGA Tour would have to sanction the The Match 2 between Woods and Mickelson, with reporting saying a private club in Florida would serve as host. There would also reportedly be a team component to the matches, including all-time-great quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
“We wouldn’t have a gallery there, you wouldn’t have crowds,” DeSantis said. "But to put that on TV, I think people have been starved for content."