Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is ‘optimistic’ next month’s restart to the PGA Tour will go ahead in the ‘Long Horn’ cattle city.
The PGA Tour has planned to end what will be a three-month absence with the hosting of the June 11th commencing Charles Schwab Challenge at the famed Colonial Country Club, with a final decision on the go ahead expected to be made this week.
If it does, the Texas event will be the first of four ‘spectator-free’ events and with a month to go to the tournament, Price is confident the $US7.5m event will go ahead.
“I’m very optimistic we can pull this off,” said Price in speaking with ESPN.
“We’ve been working with our local partners at the tournament, and they have been working diligently with the PGA Tour to make this happen.”
Aside from a ‘no spectator’ policy, the Tour is yet to announce details with regards testing and other precautions that will be in place, however Mayor Price was more forthcoming.
“We are committed to have testing for the players, caddies and anyone who is going to be working at the clubhouse or the course,” she said.
“And we’ve arranged for other screening every day. It is not going to be a big crowd of people, so I’m pleased with how it is going. Health and safety are clearly the most important — not just for us, but for all of the PGA [Tour] officials and works, as well.”
The mayor also indicated the Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Fort Worth will provide players and caddies with quick COVID-19 tests. Those tests should give results in 90-120 minutes, and would be conducted at the hotel that players and caddies are staying at for the tournament.
Those working or volunteering at the tournament would be tested on site at least once, Price said, and would get temperature screening on other days.
It is reported Fort Worth currently does not have widespread testing available for asymptomatic people, but Price told ESPN that she expects that to change in the next few weeks.
The Charles Schwab Challenge has a long history at Colonial Country Club. It began in 1946 and is the PGA Tour’s longest-running non-major event at the same site. Price believes that Colonial’s long history with the PGA Tour will communicate the right message to people who are hopeful that sports will return in full force soon.
“I’m excited about the chance for us to host the first PGA Tour tournament,” said Price.
“The Charles Schwab is one of the oldest, and the oldest at the same location. This will help us send a strong message about getting back.”
The Tour has been in shut down since March 12 soon after the hosting of the first round of the Players Championship with nine others cancelled and a total, if the Tour restarts next month in Texas, of just 13 events remaining in the 2019/20 wraparound schedule.