2020 Memorial Tournament to Be Held Without Fans Despite Plan for 20% Capacity

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2020

UNITED STATES - JUNE 01:  A flag shows the tournament logo during the first round of the Memorial Tournament Presented by Morgan Stanley at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, OH, on June 1, 2006.  (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The PGA Tour announced Monday that the 2020 Memorial Tournament, which was scheduled to feature the return of fans at 20 percent capacity at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, will instead move forward with no spectators in attendance beginning July 16.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan released a statement about the decision:

"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. 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."

The Memorial would have been the first tour event with fans since the 2019-20 season resumed in June amid the pandemic.

It's also possible the tournament hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus may serve as the return of Tiger Woods, who's yet to play in the tour since the restart. His last start came in February's Genesis Invitational. He took part in Capital One's The Match: Champions for Charity golf exhibition in May.

The 15-time major champion has won the Memorial a record five times, most recently in 2012.

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Woods has continued to take part in the event despite playing a lighter schedule in recent years. He finished ninth in the tournament last year, one of just 12 starts during the 2018-19 campaign.

Meanwhile, Nicklaus said the focus will shift to building the best television-centric showcase possible:

"We had a good plan in place, and I could not be more proud of everyone who contributed to it. In the end, we have the responsibility to recognize the health and safety of the players and all who attend the Memorial Tournament. We, in partnership with Nationwide and the PGA TOUR, will now focus on presenting the best-possible Memorial Tournament we can for the players and for the many fans watching at home and around the world on Golf Channel and CBS."

Harris English and Chad Campbell sat out last week's Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19. They became the fifth and sixth players whose diagnoses were confirmed publicly, joining Nick Watney, Cameron Champ, Denny McCarthy and Dylan Frittelli.

The PGA Championship, the first major tournament on the season's reworked schedule, is slated to tee off Aug. 6 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

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