PGA Tour's Jay Monahan Won't Halt Play: 'We Need to Learn to Live' with COVID-19

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2020

FILE - In this March 13, 2020, file photo, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan reacts to a question during a news conference at The Players Championship golf tournament, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. It’s been over three months since the commissioners of major sports cancelled or postponed events because of the coronavirus. Enough time for us to grade them on how they’ve handled the virus so far. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the sport needs to "learn to live with" positive COVID-19 tests amid its return to play last week.

"We need to learn to live with this virus. This virus isn’t going anywhere. ... You’re going to have more [positive] tests going forward," Monahan told reporters at a conference call Wednesday.

Cameron Champ withdrew from this week's Travelers Championship after testing positive for COVID-19. Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell withdrew after their caddies had positive tests, while Webb Simpson and Koepka's brother, Chase, also announced withdrawals. Monahan said the golfers were exercising "an abundance of caution" with their decisions.

"I'm going to pull out to protect everybody else. I think it's the right thing to do," Brooks Koepka told Golfweek's Eamon Lynch. "I don't want to risk anyone's life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this Tour can continue is if guys to do this sort of thing and be proactive about it."

Monahan said the PGA is making "several" adjustments to the sport's safety plan and said there will be "serious repercussions" for those who do not follow protocols. 

“All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow those protocols. For any individual who doesn’t, there will be serious repercussions," Monahan told reporters.

The PGA's current plan includes allowing up to 8,000 to attend The Memorial next month in Ohio. There have been no adjustments to that plan at this time.

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There have been seven positive tests over 2,757 tests administered by the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours over the last three weeks.

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