• Alistair Tait

Golf tournaments have never seemed so frivolous

Should the Players Championship be given major status? Who cares? There are far more important issues in the world right now.

Such as, should tournament golf really be taking place when other sports are doing the sensible thing?

I was all set to debate the annual debate over the Players Championship's worthiness of major status in today's blog. I even started writing before I realised: It. Just. Doesn't. Matter. A Stephen King famously said: the delete button exists for a reason.

Former Golfweek colleague Geoff Shackleford has gone on a rant about the PGA Tour's decision to stick its head in the sand amidst the growing concern over the spread of the Coronavirus. Well, it isn't the first time a golf organisation has looked out of touch. It won't be the last.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan put out a statement in which he said:

"I think it goes without saying that the health, safety, well being of our players, our fans, our tournaments, everybody that's involved in our ecosystem is of utmost importance."

Yet in the same statement he said the PGA Tour will go ahead with its flagship Players Championship, which starts today.

That decision seems completely at odds with what's happening around him. As Geoff points out, there is no end of clues as to the sensible decisions other sports bodies are making to do their bit to stop the spread of the virus.

The European Tour has made the wise choice with other tours to cancel tournaments because of the virus. Add the Hero Indian Open scheduled for next week to the Kenya Open as another sporting event to be cancelled/postponed because of the virus. Euro Tour CEO Keith Pelley said:

“In these difficult global circumstances, we fully understand and appreciate the recent restrictions introduced in respect of travel into India. As these new measures now prevent many members of both Tours being able to play in the tournament, everyone involved in the staging of the Hero Indian Open felt it was the correct decision to postpone the tournament."

I'm biased I know, but it further reinforces my belief that Pelley is far more clued in than Monahan.

There are just 28 days until the Masters or, as fellow golf writer Scott Michaux points out, there may be 392 days until the Masters starts given how the virus is wiping out sporting events and large gatherings faster than a tornado wiping out clapboard houses.

Should the Players, the Masters, go ahead? It's a big call, but I wouldn't be bothered if either was cancelled. Ditto for all golf tournaments right now. There's a far greater issue to be dealt with than a stick and ball game. There will always be other Players Championships, other Masters.

After all, the 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed until 2002 because of 9/11 and the world didn't come to an end.

Golf tournaments have never seemed so frivolous.

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