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  • 14 golfers DQ'd from mini-tour event for rare rules violation
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    After playing from a tee farther from the cup than the one prescribed, 14 players were disqualified from a mini-tour golf event in Buckeye, Ariz., on Monday.

    • According to the Monday Q Info Twitter feed that tracks golf's developmental and qualifying events, the incident occurred at the Verrado Founders Championship on the Arizona-based Outlaw Tour.

      The 14 players reportedly teed off 222 yards from the cup at the third hole, while the proper distance was tee box 204 yards from the hole. Because players were backed up, after one group made the mistake, others followed by teeing off at the same incorrect tee box.

      Tournament director Jesse Burghart took to Facebook to defend the ruling that DQ'd nearly a quarter of the 60-man field.

      "I stand by my decision to uphold the integrity of the game & the Rules of Golf," he wrote "Penalty for breach of rule is Disqualification. It's very black & white and one of the most important rules to follow.

      "I've heard all the name calling and peanut gallery remarks. At the end of the day we are supposed to be Professional Golfers. Ultimately it's your decision to be one or not."

      According to GolfDigest.com, the players' entry fee for the event was $775 for Outlaw Tour members, $875 for non-members.

      One of the disqualified players, James Feutz, posted Tuesday on Twitter: "My thoughts on yesterday's incident. 100% the tour did the right thing by DQ'ing everyone. Some money back would be nice considering how many people made the same mistake and the current world situation.

      "With that being said, you had hundreds of years of tournament experience among the 14 guys DQ'd with thousands of tournaments played and not one guy had ever (played) a wrong tee. In my opinion some of that has to fall on the way the course was set up and how the tournament was (run).

      "The biggest factor was that our personal scorecards printed out by the tour had the third hole yardage playing from the tee that everyone that got dq'd played from. Had that scorecard said the yardage that the tees were actually set up at, we wouldn't have had his problem."

      The disqualified group included seven players from Arizona, two from California, two from Michigan, one from Oregon, one from Illinois and one from Utah.

      The Outlaw Tour is one of a handful of golf circuits still in action during the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down much of the sports world.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: PGA Tour to expand field at some events
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    The PGA Tour is making plans to resume play and intends to give players chances to make up for time lost on the course because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    • GolfChannel.com reported Tuesday that tour officials sent a memo to players outlining what the tournament structure could look like, and it includes larger playing fields.

      Eleven events have been postponed or canceled, with the hope of resuming at the Charles Schwab Challenge beginning May 21 in Fort Worth, Texas.

      The Schwab and The Memorial Tournament in early June will expand their fields from 120 to 144 players, and the field size could grow in other events, too, GolfChannel.com reported. The tour also could host more opposite-field tournaments, meaning two tournaments would be played some weeks.

      "We are working around the clock to make adjustments to our future schedule," the memo read. "To this end, please know that it is a priority of the Tour and the player advisory council to maximize additional playing opportunities this season."

      The memo also stated that the PGA Tour's pace-of-play policy, which was set to take effect next month, won't be in place until next season, according to the report.

      --Field Level Media

  • Irish Open joins list of postponements
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 30, 2020

    The European Tour added the Irish Open to its growing list of coronavirus-related postponements on Monday.

    • The second Rolex Series event of the year was originally scheduled for May 28-31 at Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny.

      "The decision to postpone the Irish Open follows consultation with all stakeholders and was made with public health and well-being as our absolute priority," said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley in a statement. "Our thoughts are with everyone right now and we are all united in trying to fight the spread of the pandemic.

      "With this in mind, we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation."

      The European tour has been on hiatus since the Qatar Masters in early March.

      World No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland was due to be in the field for the Irish Open, which was won by Spain's Jon Rahm for a second time last year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Augusta National donates $2M for coronavirus testing, relief
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 30, 2020

    Augusta National Golf Club plans to donate $2 million to aid in coronavirus testing and recovery in Georgia.

    • The private club and host of the Masters Tournament is closed during the coronavirus pandemic after the Masters was postponed.

      On Monday, the club said $1 million is earmarked for Augusta University with the intention of expanding coronavirus testing and another $1 million was dedicated to the COVID-19 CSRA Emergency Fund, launched to "directly support relief efforts for the most vulnerable populations affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the community."

      "It is our hope these gifts will help address the many challenges brought about by the coronavirus throughout the city of Augusta and the greater region," Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said in a release. "We believe Augusta National has an important responsibility to support and protect the community who has so generously and consistently supported us for many years."

      The Masters was originally scheduled to be played April 9-12, the first major on the 2020 calendar.

      It was postponed, along with the PGA Championship, earlier this month and is expected to be contested in September. Tiger Woods is the defending champion of the event, which had a purse of $11.5 million last year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Mickelson-Woods II could include Brady, Manning
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 30, 2020

    A day after Phil Mickelson said he is "working on" a rematch of his one-on-one duel with Tiger Woods, rumors of an expansion to the format emerged.

    • Golf reporter Robert Lusetich tweeted that the Mickelson-Woods pay-per-view clash could feature the golfers competing alongside partners.

      "Two names being mentioned? Tom Brady and Peyton Manning," Lusetich wrote.

      Golf writer Larry Bohannon of the (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun replied to Lusetich's tweet, adding that the Mickelson-Woods-Brady-Manning rumor has been circulating for a few months at Madison Club in La Quinta, Calif., where Mickelson owns a home.

      Manning and Brady hit golf balls together for an episode of Manning's "Peyton's Places" TV show that ran on ESPN+ in January.

      Woods and Mickelson tangled in "The Match: Tiger vs. Phil," a made-for-TV clash on Nov. 23, 2018, at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. Mickelson edged Woods on the fourth playoff hole.

      Mickelson was asked by a Twitter user Sunday if there was "a chance" the pair might play again to give viewers something to watch while sports around the world are on hold due to COVID-19.

      "Working on it," Mickelson replied.

      When another Twitter asked if Mickelson was serious, he responded: "I don't tease. I'm kinda a sure thing."

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-pro Casey Martin fighting to save leg
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 30, 2020

    Former PGA Tour pro Casey Martin, who won the right to use a golf cart in professional events, is now fighting to save his compromised leg.

    • Martin has dealt with a Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome -- a congenital circulatory disorder -- since birth, and a weakened right leg led to him successfully suing the PGA under the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Supreme Court to employ a golf cart on tour.

      Martin broke his right tibia in October when he was pulling in his garbage cans near a curb at his home in Oregon.

      "I knew this day was coming," Martin told The Eugene Register Guard, "and it's here."

      "I was grateful that I was able to hold it off for a long time. I thought it would happen at 27, not 47. But it has happened. I'm just going to do everything in my power to save my leg."

      Martin, currently coaching Oregon's men's golf team, worked the rest of the season on crutches. The NCAA suspended the spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Ducks won the 2016 national title and then won the Pac-12 title outright for the first time in 2017.

      The disorder has prevented Martin's leg fracture from healing.

      "If I lose my leg, it would be an above-the-knee deal, and it's pretty risky for my situation anyway," Martin said. "It's something that I've recognized could happen, but I would really rather not, if I could save it, because of the risks."

      --Field Level Media

  • Fleetwood hopes Ryder Cup provides a 'light'
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 28, 2020

    England's Tommy Fleetwood not only thinks the major tournaments will get precedence when golf returns, he believes the Ryder Cup could play a significant role as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

    • Scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., there has been no determination if the event will be played. The Masters and the PGA Championship already have been postponed, with The (British) Open and U.S. Open still to be decided.

      "I think there are certain events that would be an amazing torch for a turn in how the world is getting on and the Ryder Cup would be one of them that is like a shining light at the end of the tunnel," Fleetwood said, according to the BBC.

      Fleetwood likely would be a member of European team.

      "I think there are five events really, the majors and the Ryder Cup, whatever happens it is going to work around those events I would guess," Fleetwood said.

      The Masters was scheduled for April 9-12 in Augusta, Ga., while the PGA Championship was slated for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. As of now, the U.S. Open is set for June 18-21 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., while The Open is scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's in Kent, England.

      "However that works I have no idea," Fleetwood said. "Those are the (events) that everybody will be keen to get going and we will see how that goes and how people plan that out.

      "They are in constant conversations every day to see what the options are. Whatever happens I think those will be the ones that get put front in line."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: PGA Tour to aid golfers, caddies in financial need
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 28, 2020

    The PGA Tour is stepping in to assist golfers and caddies who are financially struggling as a result of the suspension of play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    • The Golf Channel reported Saturday that the tour can advance compensation to golfers based on their performance to date, among other programs.

      "Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members," wrote Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the tour's chief of operations, according to Golf Channel.

      By law, the tour can't pay golfers money they haven't earned. But the PGA Tour can advance up to $100,000 in bonus earnings per player, based on where he stands on the FedExCup list. Any monies advanced now will be deducted from season-ending bonuses that will be earned, provided play resumes this season.

      Among other initiatives, the tour also will allow players to take money from the retirement funds.

      Caddies can request financial assistance through the Caddie Benevolent Fund. Additionally, the tour is granting the "partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program," according to Golf Channel.

      The PGA Tour paused its season on March 12 after the first round of The Players Championship. It's scheduled to resume on May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. That could change, based on the fight against the coronavirus.

      --Field Level Media

  • Home of golfer Love III destroyed by fire
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 27, 2020

    The home of pro golfer Davis Love III was destroyed by fire early Friday morning.

    • Love and his wife, Robin, were home at the time of the fire in St. Simons Island, Ga., but were not injured.

      "While everyone in our family is saddened at the loss of our home that was filled with so much laugher and incredible memories, we're very blessed that everyone is safe and unharmed," Love said in a statement. "We've very thankful to the first responders who made a valiant effort to save our home, and we're keeping things in perspective as people across our community and around the world are struggling with the current unprecedented health crisis."

      Randy Jordan, the chief of Glynn County Fire & Rescue, told ESPN that his department received a call at 5:18 a.m. and responded within six minutes.

      "It was completely engulfed in flames at our arrival," he said. "It is a total loss."

      Jordan said the cause of the blaze had not been determined.

      Love, 55, is now an on-course analyst for CBS Sports. A 21-time PGA Tour winner, he is a two-time captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team and the winner of the 1997 PGA Championship. He was enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

      He continues to play select tournaments on the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions.

      --Field Level Media

  • Evian Championship pushed back to August
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 27, 2020

    The Evian Championship, one of the five major tournaments on the LPGA Tour, is moving to Aug. 6-9.

    • It was originally set for July 23-26 in Evian-les-Bains, France.

      The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed to 2021 and were scheduled from July 24-Aug. 9. With those dates now available, the LPGA and organizers rescheduled the Evian.

      It now is set to take place the week before the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, which is planned for Aug. 13-16 in North Berwick, Scotland.

      LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said the new Evian dates will ease a schedule crunch that has arisen because of the postponement of events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      "This adjustment makes for easier travel for players and assists us as we look to reschedule previously postponed events during a crowded summer and fall timeframe," he said.

      The LPGA suspended play on tour through at least May 3.

      The first of five majors on the women's Tour, the ANA Inspiration was scheduled to be held April 2-5 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It now will be played Sept. 10-13, with the Cambia Portland Classic moving back a week to Sept. 17-20.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: U.S. Open golf tourney postponed
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 27, 2020

    The U.S. Open golf tournament will be postponed from its scheduled June dates, the New York Post reported Thursday night.

    • The event was due to be played June 18-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. According to the Post, the U.S. Golf Association hopes to hold the tournament later in the summer, pending the region's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

      Winged Foot was shut down last week when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order, halting all non-essential businesses statewide in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

      USGA senior director of championship communications Beth Major told the Post on Thursday night in response to the report, "Nothing is official at this point. Obviously, we're talking about it, knowing what's going on in New York (which has the most COVID-19 cases in the country) right now."

      Major followed up on a USGA statement issued earlier this week that said an announcement about the U.S. Open's status would be coming in mid-April.

      "We said, 'middle of April and no later,'" Major told the Post. "But (a decision) could come earlier, which for all of us would be great so we can go on with the plans."

      Westchester County, the site of Winged Foot, has been one of the areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

      The first two major tournaments of the golf season, The Masters (scheduled for April 9-12 in Augusta, Ga.) and the PGA Championship (scheduled for May 14-17 in San Francisco), already have been postponed.

      The PGA Tour closed down March 13, following the first round of the Players Championship. Currently, all tournament scheduled to be held through mid-May have been postponed or canceled.

      The men's Olympic golf competition, scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2 in Saitama, Japan, also was pushed back to next year.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA of America: Chamblee's comments 'offensive, sexist and disgraceful'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 26, 2020

    PGA of America officials on Thursday blasted Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee's recent remarks as "offensive, sexist and disgraceful."

    • Chamblee, 57, made controversial comments about the golf instruction industry in an interview with Golfweek.

      "The teachers are being exposed for their idiocy," Chamblee said. "They completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies and these philosophies finally got b---- slapped by reality."

      PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and president Suzy Whaley responded to his comments and choice of language with a letter to the editor at Golfweek.

      "In good conscience we cannot allow Brandel Chamblee's comment in a Golfweek interview on March 25 that golf instruction has been 'b---- slapped by reality' be allowed to stand without comment," they wrote. "It is offensive, sexist and disgraceful. Using such crude and hateful language is abhorrent in any context and in this case a direct contradiction to the countless programs and initiatives those in the industry provide to ensure everyone feels welcome in golf."

      "Using such crude and hateful language is abhorrent in any context and in this case a direct contradiction to the countless programs and initiatives those in the industry provide to ensure everyone feels welcome in golf," the letter continued. "Chamblee is certainly entitled to his own opinion, but it is unfair to paint all instructors with the same ugly brush."

      Chamblee apologized for his language Wednesday on Twitter.

      "I sincerely apologize for an unfortunate choice of words in the Golfweek interview," he wrote. "While the phrase was meant to mean harsh criticism, seeing words in black and white make you realize different contexts. Either way this was a poor choice of words and I apologize."

      Chamblee, who played on the PGA Tour from 1985 to 2003, posted his only win on the PGA Tour at the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open. He shared the first round lead at the 1999 Masters.

      --Field Level Media

  • McDowell: Prioritize majors over Ryder Cup when golf resumes
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 26, 2020

    Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, a member of three Ryder Cup-winning European sides, believes the international team competition must rank behind the major championships when pro golf resumes after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

    • McDowell spoke Wednesday on a conference call from his home in Lake Nona, Fla.

      Looking ahead to golf's eventual return, McDowell said, "I think it comes down to prioritizing the schedule. I can't imagine the jigsaw puzzle that the European Tour, the PGA Tour and the four majors have on their hands before we even start talking about Ryder Cups. It's a crazy puzzle.

      "But, to me, the major championships take priority over the Ryder Cup."

      The PGA Tour shut down March 13, after the first round of the Players Championship. All subsequent events scheduled through mid-May have been postponed or canceled.

      The season's first two majors, The Masters (scheduled for April 9-12 in Augusta, Ga.) and the PGA Championship (scheduled for May 14-17 in San Francisco), have been postponed. The U.S. Open (scheduled for June 18-21 in Mamaroneck, N.Y.) is in jeopardy of being postponed, too, with host course Winged Foot currently shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

      The men's Olympic golf competition, scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2 in Saitama, Japan, has been pushed back to next year.

      McDowell said the process of qualifying for the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams adds to the difficulty of keeping the biennial competition on track for the scheduled Sept. 25-27 event at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.

      "If we could be back to playing golf around June, perhaps you could argue that in June, July, August, September we have four solid months (to acquire Ryder Cup points)," McDowell said. "With an adjustment to the qualification processes and maybe of weighting those four months a little higher than we would have, you could pick two teams of 12 that could play at Whistling Straits.

      "If that re-injects some adrenaline back into the game, if that is what it is going to need after this off time, then I would be fully supportive of it. ...

      "It's really only going to be a viable opportunity if the qualification process properly reflects the 12 best players from each team and we are going to feel good about it. We are going to feel like the two teams are legitimate, and the tournament can stand."

      McDowell, 40, snapped a 3 1/2-year winless streak one year ago this week when he captured the PGA Tour's Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. That was his fourth victory on the U.S. circuit.

      Last month, he earned his 11th career European Tour title, winning the Saudi International.

      McDowell won his lone major championship at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. He was a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, playing for the winning side the latter three times. McDowell was a vice captain on the victorious 2018 European side.

      --Field Level Media

  • Canceled PGA events deal courses 'sobering' silence
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Normally these would be the busiest of days for Steve Wilmot, tournament director for the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

    • Just a few weeks from the scheduled PGA Tour stop, Wilmot's time would be consumed with the build-up to the annual event.

      Instead, the infrastructure around the Harbour Town Golf Links course is coming down and the fallout from the tournament's cancellation is being assessed.

      "I'm still in shock. Who would ever imagine this?" Wilmot said less than two weeks since the reaction to coronavirus fears caused widespread nixing of PGA Tour events. "There's no playbook for this."

      Eight tournaments have been canceled while the Masters and PGA Championship have been postponed.

      Tournament officials for the events that have gone by the wayside in 2020 note that among the various fallouts will be significant loss of funding for local charities that the golf tournaments generate.

      "There won't be as much to charity, that's a given," said a communications director for an impacted tournament.

      With the RBC Heritage slated for April 16-19, it was about a month away when the first cluster of tournaments was scratched. About 75 percent of the buildout with tents and signage had been in place around the course.

      The tournament already spent more than $1 million in services rendered.

      "The marketing and collateral is gone," Wilmot said.

      Wilmot, who chairs the PGA Tour's tournament advisory council, said the correct decision was made regarding the tournaments though "we optimistically held on as long as we could."

      For the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort, it was a blow to the Tampa Bay area. That tournament was next up, less than a week away from welcoming golfers and visitors.

      "We still are gutted for our fans, volunteers and community," tournament director Tracy West said while understanding the tour's decision. "So much work by so many people goes into staging a tournament."

      The Valspar Championship generated $2.27 million for charity in 2019, topping the $2 million mark for the fourth year in a row. Funds were doled out to more than 75 area charities.

      In December, the Wells Fargo Championship announced that almost $1.9 million had been raised for Charlotte-area charities.

      The funding of charities has been among the biggest concerns regarding each of the canceled tournaments. It goes beyond those dollars that are distributed on a formal basis.

      Wilmot said it's the sense of civic pride and community service that won't be on display in the normal manners. There will be impacts on numerous groups that counted on the revenue from the tournament.

      "It's the Hilton Head High School that parks cars so it can go to camps in the summer," Wilmot said. "It's the civic organizations that run the concessions. We're not going to sell one hot dog this year."

      By all accounts, the PGA Tour has taken a leadership role in terms of guidance amid the uncertainty. Monday's conference call delved into various issues, and based on multiple sources was well-received and offered a degree of encouragement.

      "There are a lot of moving parts," said a tournament official who was part of the call. "They're all sharing ideas."

      Golfers have taken an understanding tone.

      "On the golf side, it's sad to not compete," PGA Tour standout Webb Simpson said in response to the cancellations. "... Like many of my peers have said, golf is very small right now compared to what's going on around the world."

      Each of the canceled tournaments was in various stages of preparation. The Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3) and Byron Nelson (May 7-10) in Dallas were in better positions to pull back some of the physical structural aspects of the tournament planning.

      Still, ticket refunding and sponsors must be addressed.

      Depending on the tournament, sponsors cover payouts to the golfers. There will be no such purses for these events so that's money not spent from the sponsor level.

      While tournament officials are anxious to appease sponsors, they also know that executives with many of those companies have their attentions on other matters for the time being.

      The tournaments are generally offering refunds for tickets purchased (some happening automatically), though the ability to apply used funds toward 2021 events is often an option.

      "This is uncharted waters with all tournaments," Wilmot said. "We're all in different phases of our planning."

      RBC Heritage was slated for its 52nd edition. Wilmot has been around for the past 33 tournaments, and this would have been his 24th version as tournament director.

      The event is South Carolina's only stop on the PGA Tour. Total output attributable to visitor spending was listed $102 million during the April 2019 tournament week, including direct spending of more than $65 million.

      "You try to tell yourself it's just a golf tournament, but it's more than that," Wilmot said. "I know how important this event is in the community and in South Carolina. We're an important week in this community. But we'll be back."

      It's not that simple for the Wells Fargo Championship. It won't return to Charlotte until 2022 because Quail Hollow Club, which was the site of 2018 PGA Championship, will be the locale of the Presidents Cup in the fall of 2021. Because of that, the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship is slated for TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Washington, D.C.

      For Wilmot, the thought of playing a round of golf in the weeks prior to his tournament hadn't been a consideration for the past few decades. Yet there he was on a recent Saturday on the tournament layout, albeit not putting much concentration on the round.

      After all, bleachers were being torn down.

      "It was a sobering feeling," he said.

      --By Bob Sutton, Special to Field Level Media

  • Winged Foot shutdown complicates fate of U.S. Open
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 23, 2020

    The closure of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., could affect the fate of the U.S. Open, scheduled to be played there in June.

    • The private 36-hole course shut down Sunday night, according to the (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News, affecting U.S. Open preparations.

      On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order, halting all non-essential businesses statewide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

      The course sits just three miles from New Rochelle, an East Coast epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. The state of New York has more than 20,000 cases of the coronavirus, including nearly 3,000 in Westchester County, site of Winged Foot.

      The USGA said it expects to make an announcement in mid-April about whether to play the U.S. Open as scheduled, June 18-21, postpone or cancel outright.

      "There are multiple variables that we need to consider, including the CDC and local guidelines," USGA chief brand officer Craig Annis told the Journal News. "While construction onsite at Winged Foot has stopped for now, we are continuing to hold the dates for the U.S. Open in June and will monitor all available guidance and regulations."

      The season's first two majors, The Masters (scheduled for April 9-12 in Augusta, Ga.) and the PGA Championship (scheduled for May 14-17 in San Francisco), already have been postponed.

      --Field Level Media

  • Instructor Cowen believes he has coronavirus
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 23, 2020

    Golf instructor Pete Cowen told the Daily Telegraph in London that he has all the symptoms of coronavirus.

    • Cowen, 69, hasn't been tested despite having an ambulance come to his London home as his health worsened.

      "Low oxygen blood levels, high temperature, hot and cold shivers, racing heart rate, shortage of breath, continuous deep cough," Cowen said while describing the issues. "They said I had all the symptoms but there's nothing they could do about it other than give me (pain and fever medication) and fluids."

      Cowen works with World No. 3 Brooks Koepka and U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland, often putting in long hours at the practice range during events. He was most recently at The Players Championship in Florida before it was canceled on March 12 after one round due to the outbreak.

      Cowen believes he contracted the COVID-19 virus on the flight home to London.

      "I don't want to alarm anyone, and I might just have been particularly vulnerable to it," Cowen told The Telegraph. "But I'm not sure how anyone with an underlying illness could cope with this."

      Woodland told Golfweek in a text message that his family -- including a wife and three children -- are all healthy and displaying no symptoms.

      The only known golfer to contract coronavirus is PGA Tour Latinoamerica player Victor Lange, a 26-year-old from South Africa.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA Tour commissioner waives salary amid shutdown
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 20, 2020

    PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is giving up his salary with the circuit in a shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    • Golfweek first reported the news on Friday, and ESPN later confirmed it.

      The report also indicated that members of Monahan's "senior management team," including executive vice presidents, are taking 25 percent salary cuts. Monahan and the other executives reportedly made the concessions voluntarily during a Thursday conference call.

      Salaries for all other PGA Tour employees are frozen at their 2019 amounts, per Golfweek.

      Monahan made $3.9 million in salary, bonuses and incentives in 2017, according to Golfweek. Per the report, 2017 was the most recent year for which a tax filing is available publicly, but his current salary is likely higher.

      Since halting The Players Championship after the opening round on March 12, the PGA Tour has canceled eight events and postponed another.

      Two majors that aren't run by the PGA Tour also have been postponed: The Masters, scheduled for April 9-12 at Augusta (Ga.) National, and the PGA Championship, scheduled for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

      The full list of events affected by the PGA Tour's hiatus:

      --The Players Championship (March 12-15) -- Canceled

      --Valspar Championship (March 19-22) -- Canceled

      --WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (March 26-29) -- Canceled

      --Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship (March 26-29) -- Postponed

      --Valero Texas Open (April 2-5) -- Canceled

      --Masters Tournament (April 9-12) -- Postponed

      --RBC Heritage (April 16-19) -- Canceled

      --Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 23-26) -- Canceled

      --Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3) -- Canceled

      --AT&T Byron Nelson (May 7-10) -- Canceled

      --PGA Championship (May 14-17) -- Postponed

      The next PGA Tour event that at the moment is still set to be played on time is the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, May 21-24.

      --Field Level Media

  • LPGA postpones 3 more events, moves ANA to September
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 20, 2020

    The LPGA confirmed the postponement of three additional events on Friday while announcing that the previously postponed ANA Inspiration has been rescheduled for September.

    • The first of five majors on the women's Tour, the ANA was scheduled to be held April 2-5 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It now will be played Sept. 10-13, with the Cambia Portland Classic moving back a week to Sept. 17-20.

      Having already postponed events through March, the LPGA added the LOTTE Championship in Oahu, Hawaii (April 15-18), the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open in Los Angeles (April 23-26) and the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in Daly City, Calif. (April 30-May 3) to the list.

      "The LPGA continues to work with its partners on plans to reschedule previously postponed events and will provide further updates once those plans are finalized," the Tour said in a statement.

      The LPGA has not held a tournament since Inbee Park won the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open on Feb. 16, as the coronavirus pandemic has spread globally.

      In a letter to LPGA Tour players on Friday morning, commissioner Mike Whan said the Tour held out on postponing further events "as long as we could," but that hosting an event under the current global conditions is "not possible or prudent."

      While expressing hope that the COVID-19 pandemic soon will subside and lead to a busy tournament schedule for the remainder of the year, Whan wrote, "The truth is, every time I think we've made a plan to address changes, it never seems to be 'long enough.'

      "I wish I could tell you when the LPGA Tour will resume our schedule, but the truth is, no one has those answers. Virtually all our events are concerned given the conditions they currently face in their respective markets. At this point, the only option is to reschedule what we can and hope the COVID-19 situation starts to improve. Trust me, patience is NOT my best quality, so this situation is hard on me, too.

      "I know you deserve better and I wish I had better news to report. Again, stay turned for updates on Fall 2020. Stay safe and stay connected with your family and friends."

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf rankings frozen with McIlroy, Ko on top
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 20, 2020

    The Official World Golf Rankings and Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings have been paused while golf events are on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    • The governing boards of both groups said Friday that player rankings are frozen and reflect play through March 16.

      Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is atop the OWGR rankings, followed by Spain's Jon Rahm and a trio of Americans -- Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

      On the women's side, South Korean Jin Young Ko is No. 1. Behind her are Nelly Korda, Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, Japan's Nasa Hataoka and American Danielle Kang.

      The PGA has postponed or canceled all tour events through May 17. The LPGA on Friday postponed or canceled all events through May 3.

      --Field Level Media

  • McIlroy: Masters in fall 'would be pretty cool'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 19, 2020

    Rory McIlroy put a positive spin on the current upheaval in the golf calendar, saying that playing the Masters in the fall "would be pretty cool."

    • Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley announced last week that the 2020 tournament scheduled for April 9-12 had been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, citing October as a possible target date.

      "It gives us some room for maneuvering, depending on what happens over the next few weeks," McIlroy told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio on Thursday. "A Masters in the fall, October time, I think it would be pretty cool. It would be a very different look than what you usually see at Augusta."

      McIlroy, 30, is a four-time major winner, but is still looking for his first victory at the Masters. His best finish was fourth place in 2015.

      "I think it's definitely a possibility if they want to get the 2020 Masters in, I think that could definitely be a possibility. I'm sure they can make it happen if they want it to happen," McIlroy said.

      "I like to think that we can get a handle on this over the next sort of couple of months, and things can return to some sort of normality. But I don't think anyone knows, really."

      --Field Level Media

  • R&A hopes to play The Open, Women's British Open as scheduled
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 19, 2020

    R&A is "examining a range of scenarios" for The Open and the AIG Women's British Open, though officials said Thursday they are hopeful the two tournaments can remain on schedule.

    • The coronavirus pandemic has altered the golf landscape, including the postponement of both The Masters Tournament and the PGA Championship, as well as the women's first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration.

      The Open is scheduled for July, and the Women's British Open is planned for August.

      "Looking to our professional events this summer, we are undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of our plans to stage The 149th Open at Royal St George's and the AIG Women's British Open at Royal Troon, which are four and five months away respectively," R&A's statement read.

      "This includes examining a range of scenarios for staging the championships, with our focus on proceeding as planned, as well as considering other contingency options available to us."

      R&A said it is "closely monitoring the constantly-moving situation" and following the advice of the government, health officials and medical consultants.

      On Thursday, the organization canceled two international amateur events: The R&A Student Tour Series Final at St Andrews and Carnoustie, and The R&A Girls' U16 Amateur Championship at Fulford. Both were scheduled for April.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA Tour Latinoamerica player tests positive for virus
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 19, 2020

    PGA Tour Latinoamerica player Victor Lange is the first known professional golfer to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

    • The 26-year-old South African has no symptoms and is expected to make a complete recovery, according to a PGA Tour statement released Wednesday.

      Lange, who played collegiately at Louisiana Tech, returned to his home in Johannesburg from Mexico on March 9.

      He was tested Sunday as a precautionary measure and received his results Tuesday.

      "We have offered our support as he recovers under quarantine at home," the PGA Tour said in its statement.

      Tour officials pledged to alert anyone who might have come in contact with Lange during his lone start on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, the Estrella del Mar Open held March 5-8 in Mazatlan, Mexico.

      --Field Level Media

  • Harrington expects Ryder Cup to go ahead
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    European captain Padraig Harrington doesn't expect any delays for September's Ryder Cup despite the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    • "September is a long way off so there's no change to the situation at all at this stage," he told The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM. "I know there's been some rumors and they had to put out a statement to say there's been no change, but there's definitely no change."

      The biennial competition between teams from Europe and the United States is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistler Straits in Wisconsin.

      The first two majors of the golf calendar, the Masters and the PGA Championship, have been postponed due to the ongoing health crisis.

      On Tuesday, Ryder Cup Europe posted on Twitter that reports of a postponement were "inaccurate."

      The European team has won four of the last five Ryder Cups, including a 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 victory in Paris in 2018.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA Championship postponed, 4 more events canceled
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    The PGA Tour on Tuesday announced the cancellation of four more events and the postponement of the PGA Championship, making it the second major pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    • The events canceled Tuesday are:

      --RBC Heritage (April 16-19)

      --Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 23-26)

      --Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3)

      --AT&T Byron Nelson (May 7-10)

      The $11 million PGA Championship was scheduled to be held May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, but was postponed by the PGA of America. It will now be played at a date to be announced later.

      "As we receive more clarity in the coming weeks, the Tour will be working with our tournament organizations and title sponsors, in collaboration with golf's governing bodies, to build a PGA Tour schedule for 2020 that ensures the health and safety for all associated with our sport and a meaningful conclusion to the season," the PGA Tour said in a statement. "We will provide further updates when those plans come into focus."

      On Friday, Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia announced the postponement of the Masters.

      On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people gather in crowds of 50 people or less for the next eight weeks, which advances the calendar to May 10. A day later, six counties in the Bay Area took it a step further with their mandate.

      A public course, Harding Park was chosen in 2014 to host the 2020 PGA Championship. It has hosted other significant events, including the 2009 Presidents Cup, three Charles Schwab Cup championships and the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play.

      Brooks Koepka is the two-time defending champion. He won at Bethpage Black in New York in 2019 and at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri in 2018.

      The PGA Tour also announced that the U.S. Open, scheduled for June 18-21 at Winged Foot in New York, remains on schedule but that the USGA and PGA Tour will "continue to monitor the developing situation and follow recommendations by government authorities."

      Shortly after the announcement, the United States Ryder Cup team tweeted that the event scheduled for September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin also remains on schedule.

      "Reports today that the 2020 Ryder Cup is expected to be postponed are inaccurate," the organization tweeted late Tuesday afternoon.

      Here is a list of all PGA Tour events impacted by the coronavirus:

      ** THE PLAYERS Championship (March 12-15) -- Canceled

      ** Valspar Championship (March 19-22) -- Canceled

      ** WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (March 26-29) -- Canceled

      ** Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship (March 26-29) -- Postponed

      ** Valero Texas Open (April 2-5) -- Canceled

      ** Masters Tournament (April 9-12) -- Postponed

      ** RBC Heritage (April 16-19) -- Canceled

      ** Zurich Classic of New Orleans (April 23-26) -- Canceled

      ** Wells Fargo Championship (April 30-May 3) -- Canceled

      ** AT&T Byron Nelson (May 7-10) -- Canceled

      ** PGA Championship (May 14-17) -- Postponed

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Augusta National shutting down amid coronavirus
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 16, 2020

    Augusta National Golf Club will suspend operations by the end of the week because of the coronavirus pandemic, Golf Digest reported Monday.

    • The publication said Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley notified members of the course closure by letter.

      "We are now in the midst of a national emergency. The Coronavirus is increasingly impacting lives everywhere, and we have rigorously evaluated how this will affect the Club and its operations. Our focus moving forward must be the health and safety of our exceptional staff, which is the heartbeat of Augusta National," Ridley said in the letter, obtained by Golf Digest.

      "Beginning today, we are taking the necessary steps to curtail our operations so, by the end of this week, the Club will be closed until further notice. We intend to maintain our properties with limited personnel on site, and we will support our many other functions by working remotely where possible. But this is about much more than business continuity. This is about our employees, and the foundation of this decision is built-in upon keeping everyone safe while preserving the financial stability of those we care about most."

      On Friday, Ridley announced that The Masters Tournament, scheduled to be played at the famed Georgia course beginning April 9, would be postponed.

      The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that Georgia had 121 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 99 on Sunday.

      --Field Level Media