PGA Championship to go ahead without fans in San Francisco

NEW YORK (Reuters) - This year’s PGA Championship, scheduled to be played in early August at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, will be conducted without fans because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PGA of America said on Monday.

The Aug. 6-9 event, one of golf’s four majors, was previously postponed from its originally scheduled May date because of the scale of the outbreak in San Francisco.

The par-72 Tournament Players Club layout, a municipal course owned by the city and county of San Francisco, has never hosted a major championship and grandstand construction had begun at the course earlier this year.

The PGA Tour, a separate body which runs the game’s biggest weekly circuit, resumed competition two weeks ago after a three-month COVID-19 hiatus with the first of five tournaments that are closed to the general public.

Brooks Koepka, whose four major titles include victories at the PGA Championship in the last two years, said he would obviously have liked to have fans on site to cheer on his chase for a three-peat but respects the decision.

“We got to do whatever we got to do to make us safe, keep the fans safe,” Koepka said last week in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina where he played in the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

“Whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be. Obviously, you’d like to have fans, but I understand with what’s going on, it might not be possible.”

Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York and Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris