Temperature checks, virus tests part of PGA return

MIAMI: Coronavirus testing and daily temperature taking will be part of the US PGA Tour’s health and safety plan when it returns next month, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Golf Channel, Golfweek and ESPN all reported details of the plan, set to be unveiled by the tour Wednesday, after obtaining copies of a 37-page memo sent to players.

Tests for the deadly virus, which has shut down the tour for two months, would include nasal swabs and saliva exams.

Players and caddies would also perform a pre-travel screening test, be tested at lodging arrival, then face daily health questions and thermometer readings before they can compete.

If a player’s temperature is above 38°C on any day, he likely will be required to take a coronavirus test.

Nasal swab tests are expected to require one to two days for results, with golfers able to only practice and play — observing social distancing protocols — while awaiting results. They would be banned from other course facilities.

Any player who tests positive for the virus must immediately quarantine at a selected location for 10 days. Should a player test positive after making the 36-hole cut, he will be paid last-place prize money.

“In implementing our testing plan, we will not do so in a manner that takes away from testing and medical resources in the communities in which we play or for affected groups in those communities,” the PGA plan said.

The PGA Tour plans to resume on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, without spectators. Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka has said he will be among those to tee off in the comeback event.

Three other events — the Heritage, the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Championship — will be played without spectators, with the John Deere Classic at Sylvis, Illinois, on July 9-12 the first possible event on a revamped schedule that could be open to fans.

Access will be restricted to player and cadddie areas and the clubhouse to those who have been cleared by testing, with no families on site.

PGA staff, including rules and scoring officials, security, select clubhouse, tournament and volunteer staff, trainers and coaches will be permitted at the event.

The tour will provide face masks, disinfectant wipes and cover the test costs for players, caddies and essential staff.

A tour-hired charter flight will carry players and caddies between tournaments, but players and caddies must submit to viral testing within 24 hours of departure. Only those who test negative can board the plane.

Players will retrieve golf balls from holes and are urged to remove and replace their own clubs from the bag.

Caddies can rake bunkers and tend flagsticks but must use sanitary wipes on the equipment after doing so.

“While we believe we have created an extremely comprehensive health and safety plan, we will not play if we do not feel we can provide a safe and healthy environment for all constituents,” the memo said, according to ESPN.