The PGA Tour was one of the first sports to return during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tour is ahead of the game once again.
According to ESPN, the PGA Tour will be ending its weekly COVID-19 testing program beginning at the 3M Open in Minneapolis, meaning a negative test will no longer be a requirement in order to compete. The first round of the tournament tees off on July 22.
“We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open,” PGA Tour senior vice president Tyler Dennis wrote in a memo to players.
Unvaccinated players that have had contact with an individual that has tested positive will still be required to test.
In order to return to competition, the tour began a testing program in June 2020 requiring players, caddies, and PGA Tour staff to test every week.
The news comes as many players prepare for The Open in England, where they will face much stricter regulations than they have in the past few months.
According to ESPN, players will not be allowed to visit restaurants, pubs, or grocery stores, and will not be allowed to share accommodations while in England. Golfers will also be required to undergo COVID testing even if they have been fully vaccinated.
The rules put in place for The Open are so strict, that some players have considered skipping the tournament.
“I’m going to go because it’s the British Open,” an anonymous player told Golfweek. “But I certainly thought about not going. I just can’t believe with the numerous examples of successfully run safely held tournaments and majors here that they can’t figure out a better situation.”
“If someone on your plane tests positive on the way to the British and is sitting anywhere close to you, you’re out no questions asked, no matter if you’re vaccinated. It’s aggravating that they deem the tournament safe enough for 32,000 fans a day to attend, but won’t let a player’s wife, children travel and watch the tournament, nor will they even let players visit a restaurant without threat of disqualification.”
The tour has had to deal with its fair share of COVID-related issues.
At the Memorial Tournament in early June, John Rahm was forced to withdraw from the tournament after the third round due to a positive covid test. Rahm was leading the tournament by six strokes at the time he was informed that he had tested positive.
“While this is an incredibly unfortunate situation, throughout 50 events since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf, there have been only four positive tests (including Rahm) within competition,” the PGA Tour said in its statement. “Rahm is the first positive, asymptomatic case as part of the TOUR’s routine, contact-tracing protocols.”
The tour did say that “On-site testing will still be available for symptomatic individuals, and the TOUR may still conduct periodic testing of all constituents.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
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