The Players Championship announces return of fans

The Players Championship Flag

The Players Championship has outlined plans to allow some spectators to attend this year's tournament.

Regarded by some as golf's 'fifth major', the tournament, scheduled for March 11-14 at TPC Sawgrass, found itself at the epicentre of golf's COVID-19 lockdown last year.

Amid deepening concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the first round of the tournament was completed last year before PGA Tour officials made the dramatically decision to cancel the event ahead of the second round. The PGA Tour then went on hiatus for three months, resuming with the Charles Schwab Challenge in mid-June.

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A year on and fans will be back at Sawgrass, albeit in a limited capacity, according to tournament executive director Jared Rice.

“Our goal, our north star on this is 20 percent of max capacity,” he explained. “We feel that hits our priority of how we can deliver the tournament in a healthy way and with the safety of everybody in mind, our sponsors, our fans, our volunteers. All of that is mission critical to us.”

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Fans will be able to freely walk the golf course, with stringent protocols only in place at the designated hospitality zones.

“From a hospitality perspective, we've modified everything,” added Rice. “In hospitality zones, we'll have open-air venues, and again, looking for ways to make sure it's as safe as possible, limit some access there. From a fan perspective, we're looking at ways we can focus on social distancing as part of any food and beverage experience but still make it great for our fans.”

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The tournament is operating a priority system where spectators who have previously purchased a ticket for the Players Championship will have the first opportunity to do so again this year.

A very limited number of tickets will then go on sale to the general public on February 16.

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