• Players finally get up to speed with safety protocols

    Tyrrell Hatton Abraham Ancer bump fists of the RBC Heritage
    Players no longer in the dark about their errors

    The ‘bubble’ on the PGA Tour doesn’t exist … it’s not breaking news nor surprising but finally the world’s best are recognising they have been wrong, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    Some argue that the Travelers Championship was in doubt … rightly so. Having watched the PGA Tour’s return I’ll admit to having pulled my hair out at times.

    But, in a rare moment where I don’t tweet just about every golf thought, I let it slide. My biggest gripe … why on earth are players fist-bumping at the conclusion of their rounds? Such an unnecessary practice as we live in a world grappling to control the coronavirus. Why golfers thought they could carry on despite the world’s audiences watching boggles the mind.

    Don’t even get started on the numerous complaints of Dustin Johnson spitting during his work at Harbour Town Golf Links. (He’s unlikely to be alone in that, too).

    Still the complaints – in the mainstream media – about these infractions were few and far between. Until now that is with the confirmation of five withdrawals from an event with a number of caddies testing positive as well as Cameron Champ.

    Now the Tour is scrambling to continue to be at work. It seems that common sense has now finally kicked in after a few weeks of rust.

    Players Advisory Council (PAC) chairman Charley Hoffman wrote to players: ‘There is substantial room for improvement, and we cannot let the “bubble” give us a false sense of security.’

    He also reminded players to avoid physical touching before or after a round. Many tour reporters suggested that the players were ‘business as usual’ and not ‘business during a global pandemic’ … we wait to see an update from those who have a glimpse into Tour life.

    Scott Sajtinac, president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC), also sent a letter to his membership to emphasise the importance of adhering to all protocols, including wiping down pins and rakes with wipes, as well as socially distancing both on and off the course and avoiding fist-bumping as an alternative to handshaking.

    Justin Thomas says the fist-bumps have been a hard habit to break. But to that ‘conundrum’, I’ll ask: a habit to break at what cost? To prevent the Tour going back into suspension, you would think that one could forego that little courtesy.

    ‘The thing that’s most important is just everybody needs to do their part. At the end of the day, just you can’t be selfish. It’s a big-picture thing, and you need to do not only what’s best for you but most importantly what’s best for the TOUR, because one mistake that someone makes could end up ruining other guys or potentially suspend the TOUR again,’ said Thomas.

    It seems the penny has finally dropped for the mega-wealthy stars playing for millions each week.

    Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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