The PGA Tour will take steps to shore up its COVID-19 testing “bubble” in the wake of more positive tests this week at the Travelers Championship.
Tour commissioner Jay Monahan outlined the changes during a video press conference on Wednesday, including expanded testing to include swing coaches and instructors. The new protocols also call for increased testing for players who plan to travel from tournament to tournament on the circuit’s charter flight.
Originally, the Tour tested players and caddies after the third round who planned to take the charter flight. Players and caddies who tested negative and flew on the charter were not required to be tested again when they arrived at the next tournament.
Under the new protocols players and caddies will be required to be tested before getting on the charter and after they land in the next city.
Five players have withdrawn from this week’s event because of COVID-19 concerns. Cameron Champ tested positive for the virus, while Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka withdrew when their caddies tested positive. Chase Koepka, Brooks’ brother, who Monday qualified for the event, and last week’s champion, Webb Simpson, withdrew after being in contact with others who tested positive.
The Tour also said it plans to send the circuit’s fitness trailer to tournaments beginning with next week’s event in an attempt to persuade players from going to local gyms and possibly exposing themselves to an infection.
Monahan also warned players and caddies who may not be taking the protocols seriously. “There will be repercussions [if the protocols aren’t followed],” Monahan said.
If a player or caddie test positive and is forced to quarantine they would not be eligible for the Tour stipend if they didn’t follow the safety protocols. The stipend for players is $100,000.