Cancel the event.
It was not rocket science. On Wednesday evening, the NCAA, NBA, MLS and many other professional and state organizations were looking to cancel sporting events. The coronavirus pandemic was now front and center. A rough week on the market, a presidential address, and a lot of uncertainty had people on edge. The writing was on the wall, it was so clear. The Players Championship needed to be canceled. Jay Monahan listened, he canceled the event…on Friday.
In the end, the PGA Tour got the decision right. It was, however, a day late.
Late Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning, the Tour indicated that it would proceed with round one of The Players and that fans would be welcome at TPC Sawgrass. For a few hours Thursday morning, the Tour tried to pretend that it was business as usual. Golf Channel was promoting the event and guys like Billy Kratzert were even saying that playing golf was the right thing to do. However, it was clear that not everyone was buying it. At noon, the tone changed and the Tour decided that starting Friday no fans would be allowed at PGA Tour events through the Valero, but they would still play golf.
The first round was suspended due to darkness late Thursday and questions were still being asked about whether proceeding with the next three rounds was the right thing to do. Again, on Thursday night, the Tour indicated that it intended to play the second round.
Finally Friday morning, the tour canceled the event. They also followed the other major sporting organizations and canceled events for the foreseeable future.
I am not sure if it was selfishness or stupidity, but the Tour messed up. I don’t know what the attendance was for Thursday, but I really hope that there are no major consequences for having tens of thousands of people from all over the world on the same piece of property for hours on end. I am not a doctor, so I do not fully understandable how transmissible this virus is, but I do know that the PGA Tour did not have to make this a topic for discussion. The uncertainty surrounding this issue is a huge deal. Huge money making enterprises like the NCAA decided to play it safe, it is so disappointing that the Tour took so long before shutting down.
Now, we move forward. Today the Masters announced that it will be postponed, and given the schedule this year, it may end up being cancelled. The PGA Tour and the entire world is in uncharted territory. At least now, we are all in this together.