PGA of America confirms fan-free major going ahead

The PGA of America confirmed this week that the 102nd PGA Championship remains scheduled to tee off on the 6th August at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco albeit without spectators.

The decision to play golf’s first men’s major championship of 2020 without fans was made in consultation with the state of California and the city of San Francisco.

Brooks Kopeka Brooks Koepka holds the 2019 PGA Championship trophy (Credit: PGA Tour)

This year’s PGA will be the first on the West Coast since the event was held outside Seattle in 1998, and the first major in San Francisco since the 2012 US Open at the Olympic Club.

“We are both inspired and honoured to ‘play on,’” said Seth Waugh, the PGA of America’s chief executive.

“While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy.”

It will also serve as the first major of the PGA Tour’s revamped schedule in which the British Open was cancelled and the US Open delayed until September and the Masters until November.

Prior to its postponement on March 17, the PGA Championship was originally scheduled for play in mid-May.

TPC Harding Park has previously held two World Golf Championships (won by Tiger Woods in 2005 and Rory McIlroy in 2015) and the Presidents Cup in 2009.

Brooks Koepka has won the past two PGA Championships and would be the first player in more than 60 years to win the same major three years in a row. Walter Hagen won four straight times from 1924-27 when the PGA Championship format was match play.

The PGA of America also faces a difficult decision on how to conduct the Ryder Cup, a biennial international golf competition the organisation also sponsors.

The event, scheduled for late September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, and renowned for its boisterous crowds, could conceivably be held without fans although reports this week indicate it will be delayed until 2021.

The PGA Tour was in Hilton Head Island in South Carolina last week, where the RBC Heritage was also held without spectators, something the tour plans to continue as it operates in its self-contained ‘bubble’ in succeeding weeks from Connecticut to Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.