Morning Punch Out - May 5, 2020

May 05, 2020

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Korn Ferry Tour Releases New Schedule

Already on the schedule to resume play in early-June, the PGA Tour's developmental circuit, the Korn Ferry Tour, announced on Monday that it will be adding five events to its wraparound 2020-21 schedule that will merge with the already-completed events from this year to create a combined two-year season.

"The newly created 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour schedule that will bridge two seasons will conclude with 25 PGA Tour cards awarded at the 2021 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, with an additional 25 cards awarded at the conclusion of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Finals," the KFT's statement read. "With six events completed through the El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA, the remaining 2020 schedule – subject to change – now consists of 23 events."

The 2021 portion of the schedule will be released later this year.

“While we won’t have the opportunity to graduate a Korn Ferry Tour Class in 2020, we feel our reimagined wraparound schedule – with newly created playing opportunities – is the best solution to our season that has been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin said. “We greatly appreciate the support of our tournaments, title sponsors and Player Advisory Council in getting to this point. As we’ve said on several occasions, we will resume play only when it is deemed safe to do so by leading health authorities and government agencies and our tournaments do not negatively impact the critical efforts in the healthcare world and our communities.”

Courses Prepare For Return To Normalcy

Golf’s leading organizations under the industry’s unified lobbying effort We Are Golf released an operational playbook for a phased return to golf closer to the game it was before the coronavirus pandemic called "Back2Play."

We Are Golfis made up of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the National Golf Course Owners Association, the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the USGA and the Club Managers Association of America.

"Some of these best practices have been communicated to officials since this all began to show them how we take responsibility in facilitating a responsible and socially-distant experience at golf courses,” Jay Karen, chief executive officer of the NGCOA, said "It was helpful in expressing our message to authorities who were tasked with analyzing the status of golf courses. The industry and all those who are fortunate enough to open their doors each morning are taking our responsibilities very seriously."

The Back2Play document lays out three phases of golf’s return labeled “Individual,” “Restricted” and “New Normal" detailing guidelines adopted from the CDC guidelines designed to prevent a spread of the virus while also returning the game to as close to normal as possible.

ESPN Study Finds Sports Fans Miss Sports

In a shocking development — albeit one that likely needed to be calculated — an ESPN survey of 1,004 sports fans aged 18 or older found that 65% were in favor of a fan-less resumption of sports with that percentage jumping 11% when the caveat of teams and essential personnel being housed in monitored hotels.

The ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study found that 88% of respondents who consider themselves avid sports fans plan to watch as much sports as possible when competitions return.

Further studies are expected to take place in order to gauge any potential shift in fan opinion.

Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes Re-Opening

Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill re-opened their doors to the public on Monday, May 4 and one of America's other premier golf destinations, Bandon Dunes, is preparing to do the same on May 11.

"The Oregon resort published a 15-page document on its website outlining its preventative policies, which include practices such as all caddies and staff members wearing masks, shuttle busses containing plexiglass protective shields and counters such as the pro shop, and outdoor hand-washing stations in high traffic areas,"'s Stephen Hennessey wrote.

For those in the area, Pebble Beach has reduced its greens fees by $80. Tee times, usually reserved for resort guests or only one day in advance for public play, are accessible to the public for the month of May.

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