The 2020 PGA Championship has been rescheduled for later this summer, with the PGA of America penciling in what would be the first men’s major of the year for Aug. 6-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
With California Governor Gavin Newsom on the record on April 4 as saying he doesn’t thing big, live pro sports events will be realistic before September, the PGA of America is still figuring out how the first major of the year will be played.
According to the Associated Press, the PGA of America has three unofficial plans to go about staging the 2020 PGA Championship.
“Plan A is with fans,” PGA of America president Seth Waugh said on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “Plan B is without fans. Plan C, if California or SF doesn’t believe they could hold it, we’d have to figure out a drop dead date on that and figure out if there is somewhere in the country that could.”
The first two plans involve hosting the event at TPC Harding Park, the original host site. The first choice would be to hold it as they normally would, with throngs of fans at TPC Harding Park. That’s unrealistic given the certain lack of a vaccine by then and a likely lack of an antiviral treatment for coronavirus.
The second choice would be to host it at TPC Harding Park without fans. It would be an awkward situation, no doubt, but the PGA of America wouldn’t have to pay as much to stage the tournament. However, they would lose staggering revenue from refunded ticket sales, a lack of merchandise sales and other fan-driven revenue sources. Then again, with the PGA Championship potentially one of the first major sporting events to return, it could be a huge boon for TV numbers.
The third choice — the last-ditch plan before cancellation — would be to move the tournament to another location where the PGA of America and that venue’s government both believe the event could be staged safely, with or without fans. The PGA of America has been in frequent conversations with San Francisco officials — after all, Harding Park is a municipal course — about the evolving nature of potentially re-opening facets of society. The two parties may have to determine a go-no-go date for hosting in San Francisco.
In the event the tournament is played without fans, the volunteer base needed to typically put on the PGA Championship would be drastically reduced, if not eliminated altogether. Each group could have a walking scorer and the players. There would be a cluster of officials. Each hole would perhaps have some marshals to help players as needed.