Fort Worth

PGA's Charles Schwab Challenge Plans Coming Together Amid Coronavirus Testing

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When the PGA Tour arrives in Fort Worth June 11th for the Charles Schwab Challenge, the city is prepared to make safety the event's top priority while helping get the game of golf back on track.

"The first protocol we put into place was that this has to involve an element of testing because we don't want this getting out into our community among our citizens. We don't want to risk them. It's got to be safe," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

"This would not impact the amount of testing we have available to the community. The PGA will play for this testing and it won't short anything we need locally."

Players, caddies, volunteers and other essential staff members at Colonial Country Club will be screened daily during the tournament, with Forth Worth mayor Betsy Price believing the procedures put into place have the tournament equipped to be as safe as possible.

"My level of confidence is pretty strong," Price said. "We've spent a month or six weeks working on this with our local partners, and I feel confident it's going to happen. At some point, it's got to happen, so Fort Worth is the best place for it to be the kickoff."

A kickoff point on a golf course without fans, but at the same old Colonial Country Club viewers will remember well.

"Even if they can't be there, they'll recognize all the trees and greens and everything from the tournament," Price said.

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"And visitors watching on TV will realize what a special tournament it is."

A special tournament organizers believe is prepared to safely assist in getting the game of golf back on track.

According The Associated Press, players and caddies will be sent pre-travel tests, and they will be given the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 when they arrive at tournaments. The test, authorized last month by the Food and Drug Administration, involves a nasal swab. Results typically take a couple of days, and the tour is hopeful of using local labs for a quicker turnaround.

Anyone who tests positive will have to withdraw from the tournament and self-isolate for 10 days, provided there are no further symptoms and they get two negative tests 24 hours apart.

The tour said it would give players and caddies a stipend to pay for the self-isolation. Andy Levinson, the senior vice president for tournament administration, said the tour would pay for all testing material.

Beyond testing, the tour is recommending players stay in a designated hotel and practice social distancing as if they were still at home by avoiding eating at restaurants or meeting at bars.

On the golf course, players are to handle their own clubs and let their caddies rake bunkers and remove the pins, wiping down both after they're done with them.

Another change: No shaking hands after the round.

Along with no fans for at least the first four tournaments, the tour is not allowing family members and only limited support staff, such as trainers and instructors. All would be subject to the same level of testing -- a health questionnaire and thermal screening every day.

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