By Andrew Atkinson Chief sports editor
The PGA Tour has announced plans for tournament golf to return in June – with the first four events of the season’s resumption – behind closed doors.
The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Texas has been confirmed as the first tournament, scheduled during June 11-14.
The Memorial, scheduled for mid-June, has now been switched to July 16-19, which was originally occupied by The 149th Open, prior to it being cancelled for by the R&A.
The WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational will now go ahead, four weeks later than scheduled, in the final week of July.
Followed by TPC Harding Park in San Francisco staging the first Major of the year, the PGA Championship.
The 2020-21 season will begin after the Tour Championship concludes in September.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our number one priority.
“Our hope is to play a role, responsibly, in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love.
“It is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward the future, but as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition, only when – working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities – it is considered safe to do so, under the guidance of the leading public health authorities.”
The RBC Heritage, postponed from April, has been re-scheduled for mid-June, the week that should have been for the US Open.
The RBC Canadian Open and The Barbasol Championship – scheduled for June and July – have been cancelled.
The Tour also confirmed that the fields for the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage and the Memorial Tournament have been increased to 144 players, to provide additional playing opportunities for PGA Tour members.
The four tournaments on the modified schedule would not be open to spectators.
The Tour plans to resume play, with the first four events closed to the general public.
It will continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations of local and state authorities, in order to determine the most appropriate on-site access in each market.
The Tour will continue to review available COVID-19-related protocols, that could be implemented at PGA Tour events, to ensure the health and well-being for all involved.
Safeway Open organisers confirmed that their tournament 2020-21 season will commence on September 10, three days after the Tour Championship is set to conclude a 36-event 2019-20 campaign in Atlanta.
PGA Tour chief tournaments and competitions officer, Andy Pazder, said: “This portion of our 2020-21 schedule is possible, only because of the many partners who have worked tirelessly to grow their events and impact the lives of those in need in their respective communities, and our players, who have embraced the expanded fall schedule in recent years.
“We’d like to express our appreciation to the leadership of the Safeway Open, Houston Open and Mayakoba Golf Classic – which will conclude our calendar year schedule in Riviera Maya, Mexico – for their flexibility, which allowed for the US Open and Masters Tournament to be played in the fall.
“The accommodations will help the global golf community maximise the 2020 calendar, which will be incredibly impactful for our fans and put us in a strong position heading into 2021.”
Both the horseracing and football authorities in Britain are amongst sports events awaiting approval from the government, as to whether fixtures can return – behind closed doors – in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.