Slated to have fans, Memorial tourney now won’t due to coronavirus

The Memorial Tournament has decided to go without spectators next week at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

The tournament hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus was to be the first of the PGA Tour’s events in the reconfigured schedule to allow a minimum number of spectators. The plan was to allow up to 8,000 fans per day with social distancing measures in place, with no bleachers or grandstands.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan released a statement regarding the change.

“Given the broader challenges communities are facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to stay focused on the No. 1 priority for our Return to Golf — the health and safety of all involved,” he said. “While this was a difficult decision, it was one made collectively, and we are appreciative of the process undertaken to this point that will allow us to welcome on-site fans when the time is right.

“In the meantime, we have no doubt that the Memorial Tournament will once again be an incredible championship and deliver the best competitive environment for our players and utmost entertainment to our fans around the world.”

In an email to patrons, the tournament said: “With the support of Nationwide and local government, officials cancel plans to be among first professional sports leagues with fan attendance; decision made out of an abundance of caution, as focus heightens on player experience and television presentation.”

The tournament has also canceled the Wednesday pro-am. The Memorial was also to be the first event that had a pre-tournament pro-am. Plans were to have 27 groups with a pro and three amateurs.

The PGA Tour is playing another event, the Workday Charity Open, this week at Muirfield Village, which Nicklaus designed in the early 1970s. The Memorial, a 120-player invitational, is to follow next week. Nicklaus founded the event in 1976.

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