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The PGA Tour has backtracked on plans to allow spectators to attend next week’s Memorial Tournament.

The event, which gets underway at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village course in Ohio on July 16, was expected to be the first tour event out of lockdown to allow limited numbers of fans on-site.

It had been reported that as many as 8,000 people were going to be allowed to attend each day.

However, with the US continuing to struggle to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering concerns over the PGA Tour’s own safety protocols, the decision has been made to play the tournament behind closed doors.

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In a statement confirming the news, the PGA Tour cited the “rapidly changing dynamics” of the coronavirus as the reason for the U-turn.

“We applaud the leadership, diligence and partnership it took from Jack Nicklaus, Dan Sullivan, the entire Memorial Tournament staff and State, County and City leadership to build a solid plan that would allow for limited fan attendance at next week’s event,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. 

“But 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.  

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“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.”

There is now no scheduled date for fans to return to the PGA Tour, increasingly the likelihood that the remainder of the 2019/20 season – if not the rest of the 2020 calendar year – will be played behind closed doors.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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