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PGA Tour Commish: 'Vaccination is a choice'

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ORLANDO – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is playing in the PNC Championship pro-am on Friday with his father, Joe, alongside Tiger Woods and son Charlie. It doesn’t get better than a day on the course with dear old dad.

But in between shots Monahan’s head must be spinning at the world of possibilities facing him and the PGA Tour in the year ahead. The Tour deserves to be commended for returning to action in June, completing the 2019-20 season and launching the “super-season” of 50 Tour events that will run through the Tour Championship in early September with hardly a hiccup amidst a global pandemic. One day earlier, Monahan fielded more than two dozen questions from reporters on a conference call, including topics such as when will more fans be allowed to attend events and how a Coronavirus vaccine could impact the Tour in 2021.

The West Coast Swing will feature limited fan access, especially at the California-based events. It’s still unclear what the Tour’s plan will be for the Florida Swing, which begins the first week of March. Monahan outlined how tournaments need a six-to-eight week window to plan for various scenarios and work with local authorities to make all decisions.

“I would be hopeful that when we return to Florida we’ll be able to continue on the path that we’ve been on where we’re playing pro-ams, we have our corporate hospitality program and our title sponsors are able to use a platform to drive their business and that we are safely reintroducing fans,” Monahan said. “I think the core of your question is how many people do we see. It really is hard to predict at this point what that will be. We’re very encouraged by the news around the vaccine and vaccine distribution and paying very close attention to what that can mean as we go into calendar year 2021.

PGA commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to media after the cancellation of the 2020 edition of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Photo by Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports.

“I think you’ll just see a slow and steady increase in the number of fans that we have on-site, but again, we won’t be the sole arbiter in that. Any steps that we take we’ll be doing in concert with our partners in the local communities where we play.”

When asked to address the introduction of a vaccine and how that could impact the Tour’s plan, Monahan expressed enthusiasm that it could be a shot in the arm for the Tour, but took a cautious stance that it was premature to jump to any conclusions.

“As exciting as it is, I think there’s still an awful lot that we need to learn and we need to know, but I would say at this point we’re not going to be in a position where we’re mandating vaccination, and that’s the way that we’re looking at it at this point in time,” Monahan said. “We have a lot to learn. We’re going to be very thoughtful about it. But it’s early to say to you with any definition how that’s going to affect how we operate.”

When asked if in his role as Commissioner he would use his power to mandate a player to take a vaccine, Monahan said he would not.

“I think vaccination is a choice,” he said. “I think we would apply the same logic and the same amount of care to that subject as we have to every other subject, and that is to try and do our best to educate our members on vaccination and the pros and cons associated with it. But ultimately it’s an individual decision.”

Monahan also reported that despite the loss of several revenue streams – such as tickets and concessions, corporate hospitality – the PGA Tour raised $160 million for charity this year. That is down from $204 million a year ago, Monahan said.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/18/jay-monahan-pga-tour-commissioner-vaccination-is-a-choice/

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