The Memorial Tournament plans to host spectators on-site, the first PGA Tour event to do so since the COVID-19 pandemic halted competition.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in his daily press briefing Friday that he has approved a limited spectator safety plan for The Memorial Tournament, scheduled for July 16-19 at Muirfield Village.

“These sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, and in some cases, provide for one-way traffic,” DeWine said on Twitter. “They are elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public.” [1]

Fans watch action on the 12th hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament on June 3, 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Young/PGA TOUR

According to a Columbus Dispatch report, the tournament expects to allow up to 8,000 spectators on-site at any given time, which would reportedly equate to 20 percent of the tournament’s typical capacity. There will be no on-site bleachers, with each hole featuring “designated sitting or standing corrals” where a pre-determined number of fans will be allowed to congregate.

Fans will be required to wear non-surgical masks, with the exception of certain recognized exemptions, and temperature checks will be conducted at every entrance as well as via handheld units on property.

Muirfield Village will also host a Tour event during the week of July 9-12, which will not include fans. Instead tournament officials expect to use that week to “test run” safety practices for players and other essential personnel, including temperature checks and COVID-19 tests. [2]

With limited fans, Muirfield Village will look a lot more like a minor league event. Pictured here: The 2016 Web.com Lincoln Land Charity Championship at Panther Creek Country Club. PHOTO CREDIT: Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register

Getting clearance from the state of Ohio was essential, but also the easy part. Next up: navigating dozens of safety protocols that will test how badly fans want to show up to watch professional golf in person, and how long they remain on site.

Wearing masks for hours on end in potential 90-degree heat? Mandatory temperature readings before entering the course? Social distancing on the hillside around the 18th green? We are about to find out how well that works, as the Memorial becomes a guinea pig for golf and many outdoor sporting events. [3]

The Memorial Tournament has already reached out to fans who have purchased badges to assess their interest in attending and to notify them of options, which include a lottery system to determine who will be allowed to attend. [4]

SOURCES FOR CURATION:

  1. Limited Spectators Allowed at Memorial Tournament in July
    (Golf Channel)
  2. Memorial Tournament Can Have Fans, But Will They Come?
    (Columbus Dispatch)
  3. Report: Maximum of 8,000 Spectators Expected at Memorial
    (Golf Channel)
  4. Memorial To Hold Lottery For Limited Fan Spots Due to Coronavirus
    (ESPN)

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