May 12, 2020 / 11:38 PM / 13 days ago

Tests and more tests for players as PGA Tour prepares for return

(Reuters) - Golfers and caddies returning to the PGA Tour next month will face a battery of tests and safety measures as they adjust to tournament golf in the era of novel coronavirus.

Golf Channel said on Tuesday it had seen the 37-page health and safety document being sent to players as the PGA Tour, shut down since mid-March by the COVID-19 pandemic, prepares for a June 11-14 return at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

Players can expect a “layered testing approach” according to Golf Channel, which will start at their homes. They will receive a pre-travel screening test and be tested again on arrival at the tournament.

Testing will be required as a condition of competition.

Anyone testing positive will be removed from the competition and self-isolated for at least 10 days. A player who tests positive after making the cut at an event will receive last place earnings.

Players, caddies and tournament officials will be kept inside a tournament bubble at one or two hotels and a charter plane will take them to the next tournament to limit possible exposure.

Everybody must be tested again before boarding the charter.

Golfers are also encouraged to perform many of the tasks left for their caddies, such as selecting and replacing clubs or whatever they need from the bag.

“I don’t know what even to expect,” Brooks Koepka, winner of four majors, told Golf Channel. “I am assuming no fans, that’s been said, but I am kind of in the dark. I don’t know too much about it.

“Whatever restrictions they put on, I am going to be in the first three events, so whatever I need to do to play those three events I am going to make sure I do.”

In addition to the Charles Schwab Challenge the tournaments set 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.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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