June 24, 2020 / 8:33 PM / 14 days ago

PGA Tour's Monahan warns players after positive COVID-19 tests

(Reuters) - PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan on Wednesday promised significant consequences for anyone who fails to follow COVID-19 safety protocols after a number of positive tests at this week’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Monahan, who was not originally listed on the interview schedule ahead of the Travelers, announced new safety measures and reiterated existing ones.

“All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow those protocols. For any individual that does not, there will be serious repercussions, and I’m not going to get into the specifics of it,” Monahan said from TPC River Highlands, site of this week’s Travelers Championship.

“But everybody knows and needs to know that our future, our ability to sustain this business and to impact the communities where we play and to create so many jobs is contingent on our ability to follow those protocols.”

Monahan delivered his remarks a day after a second PGA Tour player in a five-day span tested positive for COVID-19.

In the three weeks since the PGA Tour returned from its COVID-19 hiatus, Monahan said there have been seven positive results from 2,757 total in-market tournament tests across the main circuit and developmental Korn Ferry Tour.

“It’s a low number, but every number hurts,” Monahan said.

Monahan said major champions Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell have withdrawn from this week’s event “out of an abundance of caution” after their caddies tested positive.

World number five Webb Simpson also withdrew after a family member tested positive while Koepka’s younger brother Chase decided to sit out because he played a practice round with Brooks and McDowell.

Among changes announced by Monahan are further testing, player instructors being added to the testing bubble and an onsite fitness trailer to deter golfers from using outside gyms.

Monahan said he has confidence in the protocols in place and remains hopeful the PGA Tour’s schedule will not be interrupted.

“We feel like we’re on a path that’s going to allow us to continue to sustain our return to golf,” said Monahan.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond

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