Just like every other professional sporting body in the world, The PGA Tour was hit by the coronavirus outbreak and though the PGA is back in action, Covid-19 is rearing its head close to home for the players. The Players Championship, which was due to begin on the 12th of March was cancelled and further tournaments were unable to be played. The PGA tour kicked off with the Charles Schwab Challenge on the 11th of June 2020.
It was a tremendous return to the fairways for Daniel Berger, who won his first PGA Tour title in three years. It was an exciting finish to the event which saw a playoff at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth. The playoff was between Berger and Collin Morikawa, the latter of which missed a par putt to hand the victory to his opponent. Berger’s win saw him rise in the Official World Golf Rankings, with Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Jason Kokrak also enjoying a strong return to action.
The PGA Tour then moved to Harbour Town Golf Links for the RBC Heritage. This tournament was due to take place in April but was moved due to COVID-19. Webb Simpson was the man to come out on top, winning his second PGA Tour title of the season. The American scored a back-nine 30 in the final round and that was enough to seal victory over Abraham Ancer, who was one shot behind in second place. The event saw another excellent performance by Daniel Berger, who finished T3 along with Tyrrell Hatton. Sergio Garcia was T5 with Joaquin Niemann and Brooks Koepka was 7th. The victory for Simpson was enough to see him move into the top five of the Official World Golf Rankings.
The players now move to TPC River Highlands, Cromwell for the 2020 Travelers Championship. This is set to be a tremendous tournament thanks to an extremely strong field. Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose are among the bookmakers favourites to win this event.
During the course of this week there have been at least 5 withdrawals from the Travelers Championship due to Covid-19. Cameron Champ is the second golfer, after Nick Watney, on the Tour to test positive for the virus. Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell have also withdrawn as a precautionary measure due to their caddies testing positive for the virus.
The trend in this regard is not looking good and only time will tell what effect this has on other players who also decide to withdraw as a precaution in the fight against the virus as well as the effect it has on new rules the PGA is likely to implement.
A player who has a great record at this venue is Bubba Watson and he has three previous victories at TPC River Highlands. Watson finished 7th at Colonial and 52nd at RBC Heritage. The latter may not be a great result but his final round was strong and that makes Watson a serious contender for the 2020 Travelers Championship. DeChambeau will also be coming into this tournament with plenty of confidence and his statistics suggest a win is just around the corner.
Following the Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour goes to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This is another event which has been moved due to coronavirus and it will be only the second time it is played having join the PGA Tour last year. It has replaced the Quicken Loans National and the 2019 event was won by Nate Lashley. It was his first win on the PGA Tour and it would be a shock if he were to retain his title.
At the time of writing, it is unclear exactly who is going to be making up the field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Considering the lack of golf over the past three months, we are likely to see some of the biggest names in the world of golf at Detroit Golf Club. All of the charitable proceeds from this tournament go towards permanently ending Detroit’s digital divide by 2025, which is a great cause.
The PGA has undertaken to take stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus, so we will see in the coming days what the effects of all of this are and what the effect this has on other players on the tour.