(Reuters) – The PGA Tour plans to use chartered planes to shuttle golfers and caddies between tournaments when the circuit returns from its coronavirus hiatus at the Charles Schwab Challenge in June, said Kevin Streelman.
FILE PHOTO: Mar 5, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Kevin Streelman watches his drive on the 18th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
Streelman, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, told Golfweek that the plan is part of safety measures being put place to protect players and caddies during the COVID-19 pandemic that forced a shutdown of the PGA Tour at the Players Championship in mid-March.
“There will probably be four, five, six of us who will split a plane to get to Colonial,” Streelman told Golfweek.
“The tour has chartered planes, like big ones, for all the players and caddies in between events, trying to keep our bubble nice and tight.”
The PGA Tour released a revised schedule in April with the first four events to be played without spectators, starting with the June 11-14 Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
In addition to the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, the tournaments currently slated to be held without fans are the RBC Heritage (June 18-21) in Hilton Head, S.C., the Travelers Championship (June 25-28) in Cromwell, Conn., and the Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 2-5) in Detroit.
The first tournament tentatively preparing for spectators is the July 6-12 John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. followed by the Memorial.
“It’s going to be different for sure (playing without fans),” said Streelman on Monday following the pro-am at the Scottsdale (Arizona) Open mini-tour event. “It’s necessary and the priority is getting good competition, have a nice TV product for our fans, that’s definitely the priority.
“But, the leaders are going to miss that excitement.
“My favorite memories are being in the heat, seeing what you got, hearing that electricity roll around a PGA Tour event on Sunday afternoons, as we know here (at the Waste Management Phoenix Open), the craziness… To me, that’s part of what we do it for.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis