The PGA Tour announced Monday that the annual Memorial Golf Tournament will be held without fans due to COVID-19.
The event draws thousands of people from all over the country to Dublin's Muirfield Village Golf Club, bringing an estimated economic impact of about $35 million per year along with them.
Organizers moved the tournament to July in hopes that the coronavirus, along with restrictions on sports events, would be gone by now. Gov. Mike DeWine had approved a health and safety plan for the event, which also planned to increase the number of competititors from 120 to 144.
But Dan Sullivan, executive director of the Memorial Tournament, says the recent spike in cases was the deciding factor.
"We don’t think it’s responsible for us to be even remotely tied to any kind of increase in positive counts," Sullivan says. "So we thought better of it and made a decision with the support of Nationwide, the PGA Tour and all of the public officials."
Sullivan says all players and caddies will be tested when they arrive in Ohio, and there will be strict measures in place to ensure their health and safety.
"So obviously, sanitizing is critical," Sullivan says. "We have social distancing in place at all times, masks in place at all times."
Players will also have their temperature checked every time they come on site to the event. Sullivan says because golf takes place outside on a huge outdoor course, they believe players will be safe from spreading the virus.
In a statement, DeWine praised the decision to ban spectators.
“I know it was a difficult decision to make, but the organizers of the Memorial Tournament have put the health and safety of players and fans first," DeWine wrote.