Since the PGA Tour announced its plan to return from the COVID break, the plan was for the Memorial to be the first event that would allow fans. That plan seemed to be as good as a sure thing as well when two weeks ago Ohio governor Mike Dewine signed off on fans being allowed to attend the event.
That all changed on Monday, however, when Tour and tournament officials announced that the Memorial would no longer be allowing fans on the property when the event is held next week.
Coincidently enough, the announcement came on the same day that the Ohio Department of Health reported a spike in both coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. As of Sunday, the seven-day average for new cases had risen to 977, more than double the number from one month earlier.
“While we embraced the opportunity to be the first PGA Tour event to welcome the return of on-site fans—and be a part of our nation’s collective reemergence from the COVID-19 crisis—we recognize the current increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the country and our ultimate responsibility,” tournament director Dan Sullivan said in a statement. “It’s disappointing to the many who have tirelessly worked to create a plan for on-site patrons, but I’m confident the learnings from these efforts will contribute to golf’s continued success, and we’re excited to showcase Muirfield Village Golf Club—and ultimately, the Memorial Tournament—to our fans over the next two weeks.”
With the Memorial no longer allowing fans, the major question mark becomes which tournament will now be the first one to allow the general public on the property.
The 3M Open in Minnesota follows the Memorial on the schedule and they have already announced that no fans will be allowed. The following week, both the WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational in Memphis and the Barracuda Championship in California will be held. While the Barracuda has already announced they will not allow fans, the door is still possibly open for fans to be welcomed in Memphis.
With the PGA Championship being held without fans, if no fans are allowed in Memphis we could be looking at mid-August before fans are allowed at an event on the PGA Tour again.