Memorial forced behind closed...

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Memorial forced behind closed doors following COVID-19 spike in Ohio

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

08:09 6 Jul 2020


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This month's Memorial Tournament will be played behind closed doors after all. 

The tournament which is due to get underway on July 16 was to be the first on the PGA Tour to welcome fans since the COVID-19 hiatus.

However, coronavirus cases in Ohio have spiked leaving tournament organisers being forced to close the gates to Muirfield.

On June 14 the number of new cases per day of COVID-19 in Ohio had dropped to 300.

Around that time, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine approved a phased approach to allowing fans on-site.

However, the number of new cases has steadily risen over the past three weeks, peaking at 1,301 last Thursday (July), with the latest figures (Sunday July 5) standing at 968 new cases across the state.

Course designer Jack Nicklaus said, "We had a good plan in place, and I could not be more proud of everyone who contributed to it.

"In the end, we have the responsibility to recognise the health and safety of the players and all who attend the Memorial Tournament.

"We, in partnership with Nationwide and the PGA TOUR, will now focus on presenting the best-possible Memorial Tournament we can for the players and for the many fans watching at home and around the world."

Executive Director Dan Sullivan added, "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 recognise the current increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the country and our ultimate responsibility.

Sullivan said, "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."


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