Current trend doesn’t bode well for PGA Tour

The PGA Tour was one of the first professional sports organizations to resume play after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

With strict procedures and testing protocols in place, the PGA’s first tournament — the Charles Schwab Challenge — took place June 11-14 in Texas without a hitch.

The next tournament, however, was last week’s RBC Heritage Classic in South Carolina. It experienced a hiccup when tour pro Nick Watney tested positive for COVID-19 after the first round. He subsequently withdrew and was placed in a voluntary, 14-day quarantine.

This week’s Travelers Championship marks just the third event since the PGA Tour restart, and by mid-week, a total of five pro-golfers had already withdrawn from the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.

The first was a golfer who tested positive (tour player Cameron Champ). Two others (Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell) withdrew after their caddies tested positive, while fourth and fifth (Webb Simpson and Chance Koepka) decided not to play after coming in contact with someone who had tested positive

The trend doesn’t look promising.

But the PGA Tour has remained steadfast in moving forward with its schedule of events, while announcing additional testing requirements for all personnel associated with the conducting of their tournaments.

I would say I’m in the camp that supports trudging along, but that’s easy to say while living in an area that has not been hit heavily by COVID-19 cases.

Here’s hoping the trend on the PGA Tour — and all across the country — begins to level off and quickly decline.

Down River champs

It was nice to see that Everett’s Down River Golf Club was able to reconsider its tournament date and hold the annual two-ball event over Father’s Day weekend.

The tournament was able to dodge some spotty thunderstorms and finished late Sunday afternoon with the powerhouse duo of Anthony DeGol and Artie Fink Jr. capturing the title by three shots over Josh Leibfreid and Shaun Foor.

DeGol and Fink scored an impressive 10-under par 62 on Saturday, followed by a 67 on Sunday.

It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to write scores like this down on a piece of paper, but I can hardly imagine the talent it takes to play golf like these two guys.

My partner and I played in the same tournament and were happy with our two-day total of 5-under par, 139 — a mere 10 shots back.

During the tournament, I had the chance to see the DeGol-Fink duo hit several shots both Saturday and Sunday, and it’s an impressive sight to behold. Both can hit the ball a long way, and have equally-strong short games.

There are a bunch of events coming up in July and August. If you have the chance, I’d recommend coming out to see some really high-level play.

Sunnehanna Amateur

In a normal year, Johnstown’s prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur tournament would have concluded last weekend, but this is definitely not a normal year.

Sunnehanna’s internationally-known amateur event was postponed from its typical mid-June date due to early COVID-19 restrictions and has been rescheduled for July.

The format of the tournament is four days of stroke play and will be played this year, Tuesday through Friday, July 21-24.

The public is welcome at no charge to watch many of the world’s best amateurs compete for the Sunnehanna title over each of the four days.

Ken Love covers local golf for the Mirror. He can reached at gltr777@atlanticbb.net.


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