As the PGA Tour navigates its resumption of play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is updating its health and safety plans.
After several positive tests in the last three weeks, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday night some updates to its current protocols:
NEW – Change to policy re: players who test positive but are asymptomatic
Since the inception of the PGA TOUR Health and Safety Plan, the TOUR’s policy for all positive test results for players and caddies requires a minimum 10-day self-isolation period, based on the Centers for Disease Control’s time-based protocols.
Now that the TOUR is in week four of its Return to Golf and following several asymptomatic positive tests followed by negative tests – and after direct consultation with the CDC – we are transitioning to the CDC’s test-based model, with their support. Going forward, in accordance with CDC guidelines, a player or caddie who tests positive for COVID-19 but has not had any symptoms may return to competition if he returns two negative tests results, a minimum of 24 hours apart.
The policy change will go into effect immediately. Cameron Champ – who tested positive June 23 and had three subsequent negative tests in the 72 hours that immediately followed that positive result (24 hours apart) – has been medically cleared to play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. As with all players, Champ will remain subject to arrival testing once on site in Detroit. He will be an addition to the field and assigned a 2:10 p.m. tee time (off of No. 10).
“I am extremely grateful for the tireless efforts and conversations between the TOUR, my team and all of the experts who were consulted in order to deliver this best possible outcome,” said Champ. “It is a great example of everyone being committed to working together to adapt and evolve in this constantly changing environment. I would especially like to thank my fellow players for their support and cannot wait to tee it up with them in Detroit tomorrow!”
PGA TOUR players Harris English and Chad Campbell, and Korn Ferry Tour players Brandon Wu and Jonathan Hodge – who tested positive earlier this week but were asymptomatic – will be eligible for next week’s events, if they choose to enter a testing regime and pending they each return two negative tests results, a minimum of 24 hours apart.
NEW – Adjustment to Stipend Program and At-Home Testing Protocols
In an effort to further encourage players and caddies to utilize at-home test kits, two significant changes are being made to the Stipend Program, after consultation with the Player Directors and PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council Chairman.
To be eligible for the applicable stipend following an on-site positive test, a player or caddie returning from an off week must have completed an at-home test the week prior to returning to play.
The stipend amounts have been adjusted to make them equal for an on-site positive or an at-home positive test result.
The stipend program for an at-home positive test is applicable only to players who were eligible for the following week’s event (including the top 10 alternates), and a player or caddie will not receive a stipend if he does not follow the protocols set forth in the Participant Resource Guide / PGA TOUR Health & Safety Plan or otherwise acts in a reckless manner with respect to the protocols, including any local health department regulations that may be in effect.
The TOUR will be providing players and caddies with additional complimentary at-home test kits.
Comment from PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan
“As we all learn more about how to navigate this complicated COVID-19 environment, we appreciate the continued dialogue with medical experts and with the Centers for Disease Control directly as we fine-tune our Health & Safety Plan accordingly. Today’s changes – and those announced over the past week – illustrate our commitment to preserving the health and well-being of our athletes, constituents and our impact on the communities in which we play, as well as a willingness to make medically-sound adjustments that allow our players to compete, safely. The continued success of our Return to Golf depends on that approach.”
For reference, previously announced updates to Health & Safety Plan (for Rocket Mortgage Classic)
- Those who travel via the TOUR-procured charter will be subject to the arrival testing procedures (nasal swab), in addition to the pre-charter test.
- Player instructors have been added to the on-site testing protocol (i.e. “the bubble”).
- The TOUR-sponsored fitness trailer will be on site in an effort to further control the environment where our players interact (i.e. you would be discouraged from going to off-site gyms., etc.); additionally, all occupants of the fitness trailer will be required to wear a face covering for the entirety of their time in the trailer.
- The stipend policy has been updated to specify that a player will not be eligible if he has tested positive for COVID-19 after not following the safety protocols outlined in our Participant Resource Guide.
- Players and caddies, along with all other individuals “inside the bubble,” will not be allowed on property until first being cleared with a negative in-market test during pre-tournament screening (previously, players and caddies could be on site to practice as they awaited their arrival testing results, but without access to any indoor facilities). Note: due to longer turnaround times for test results on the Korn Ferry Tour, this change will not be implemented on that Tour at this time.
Brain Wacker of GolfDigest.com, also reported on an update to the stipends the PGA Tour will provide for those players and caddies who test positive.
Also, in email to players Tour says in order to be eligible for stipend following on-site positive test, player or caddie returning from off week must complete at-home test week prior to returning. Amounts of the stipend also adjusted as follows … More: https://t.co/sgd1I8HU6W pic.twitter.com/nZA97lvR4V
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) July 2, 2020