California is, by itself, the fifth-largest economy in the world. It has more than 40 million people, and its governor, Gavin Newsom, has to keep those two things in mind as he decides when and how to re-open the Golden State’s economy and slowly loosen his stay-at-home order.
Newsom outlined the stages of that plan on Twitter on April 28, and the realities of his plan mean there will not be fans at live sporting events — including the five major pro tour events scheduled to be played there through the end of 2020 — anytime soon.
Saying the state is “weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications,” Newsom cautioned the leap from some loosening in Stage 1 to a further return to work in Stage 2, including increased testing and contact tracing. Stage 3 means having sporting events without fans, as well the re-opening of some more high-risk businesses.
Sporting events with fans would resume when the entire order is lifted, which is contingent on the existence of therapeutics or a vaccine. The absolute soonest that would likely happen is the fall. However, there is no timetable for each stage.
“I know we’re all ready for life to go back to normal,” Newsom added on Twitter. “But it’s unbelievably important we re-open our economy in a scientific, thoughtful way – guided by public health.”
Starting in July, a handful of major tour golf events are scheduled, starting with the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship near Lake Tahoe from July 30 – Aug. 2.
The PGA Championship, conducted by the PGA of America, is the next week after being rescheduled from May at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. The organization has acknowledged the possibility of playing the event without fans.
The LPGA Tour moved the ANA Inspiration, typically the first major on the golf calendar, to Sept. 10-13 near Palm Springs, while the PGA Tour’s 2020-2021 season is set to start the same weekend in Napa for the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort.
The PGA Tour Champions’ Pure Insurance Championship is scheduled to be played on a rotation hosted by Pebble Beach Golf Links from Sept. 18-20.
Currently, the PGA Tour has only announced plans to go forth with their first four events — assuming a June restart — to be played without fans in attendance. The LPGA Tour has not announced their policy yet.