PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has revealed the Travelers Championship will go ahead this week, despite three positive tests for coronavirus.
Cameron Champ, Graeme McDowell’s caddie Ken Comboy and Brooks Koepka’s caddie Ricky Elliott all have the virus and the three players have withdrawn from the tournament in Connecticut which is due to start on Thursday.
Furthermore, Koepka’s brother Chase and Webb Simpson have also withdrawn having been in close contact with those testing positive.
Those cases threw doubt on whether the tournament would go ahead, but Monahan said the PGA Tour would carry on while trying to refine its safety protocols.
“It is pretty clear that this virus isn’t going anywhere,” he said, having flown into the site on Wednesday to face the media.
“We are excited to get into the Travelers Championship this week and we are going to continue to refine and get better and better and identify ways we can further mitigate any risks.
“We have had three positive tests this week, I think everyone should expect we are going to have more (positive) tests.
“We are going to spend a tonne of time to make sure we are reinforcing the strong protocols we have.”
Some of the changes made will include additional testing, coaches being brought into the testing bubble along with fitness facilities.
Monahan admits he has thought about how bad the situation would need to get before the Tour would be cancelled.
“That is something you are mindful of,” he added. “The safety of the players is our number one concern, our brand is our greatest asset.
“The amount of time that we put into the plan we developed and the plan we executed, the dialogue we have had, the feedback we are getting everything we are doing we are doing in concert with our membership.
“We feel a great responsibility to inspire people, to be in their living rooms on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we feel like we are on a path that is going to allow us continue our return to golf.
“The PGA Tour will always do the right thing to make sure we create the safest environment possible.”
Players have been seen fist-bumping and high-fiving in the first few weeks back on the tour but Monahan has warned of the consequences for anyone found not following safety protocols.
“All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow those protocols, for any individual that does not there will be serious repercussions, I a not going to get into the specifics,” he added.
“Everybody needs to know that our future, our ability to stay in this business is contingent on our ability to follow those protocols.
“When there are instances when somebody hasn’t they will be dealt with and the consequences will be significant.”
McDowell told Golfweek: “For the protection of the field, and for my own physical and mental well-being, I’m going to take a test tomorrow morning then jump on a private plane.
“I’m going to get myself out of here, home to Florida and decide whether I need to quarantine myself from my family.”
Sam Horsfield was literally lost for words after his maiden European Tour win.
The American sits atop the leaderboard despite a mixed third round on Saturday.
The Englishman saw a commanding lead cut after a stuttering back nine.
Brooks Koepka made a not-so-subtle dig at Bryson DeChambeau’s “anthill” moment from the first round in Memphis.
The tournament marked the resumption of the tour.
Horsfield fired an eagle and seven birdies in a second round of 63 at the Forest of Arden to share the halfway lead with Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.
Koepka carded a superb 62 to take a two-stroke lead after the opening day.
A change in date from August to May last year placed the tournament second in line behind the Masters, in calendar terms at least.
The four-time major winner shot 62 in his opening round.