BOSTON (CBS) — When the PGA announced its revised schedule this week, Boston golf fans were no doubt relieved to see that The Northern Trust is still in the league’s plans for 2020. After missing out on the event last year following a playoff restructuring that moves the event between Boston and New Jersey each year, local golf fans have been waiting for a while for a return of the PGA.
While the return of the event is enough in and of itself to get fans excited, Northern Trust tournament executive director Julie Tyson said that the plans at the current moment involve fans in attendance when golf does return to the Boston area.
“I mean, this is a very scary time for a lot of people, and there are very immediate things that everybody in our communities are dealing with,” Tyson told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche. “Right now the information I have is that we’re planning full steam ahead and to have our event in its full form, the way that we had anticipated to have it previously.
“Sports has played a big role in healing in some of these types of situations,” Tyson, a native New Yorker, added. “Sports plays a role in healing, and we look forward to doing our part to bring the community together around what’s been a pretty tough few months for everybody.”
That is, of course, an optimistic viewpoint. Yet Tyson said that while the PGA has been following the guidelines and recommendations by the CDC and WHO, the event can still take place without fans in attendance.
“Really our first priority is making sure that fans feel safe, our players feel safe, our sponsors feel like we’re setting up the best possible scenario for everybody,” she said.
Having the fans in attendance for The Northern Trust, which will be the PGA’s first postseason event of the year, makes a particularly notable mark when the tour rolls through Boston.
“Long before this, I was quoted a lot as saying that Boston sports fans just, they show up. And we’re really excited. Our players love playing here, they love the golf course, they love the energy that Boston sports fans bring. And now more than ever this could be a great opportunity to bring the community together around something pretty great,” Tyson said. “Golf is uniquely situated for social distancing. We’ve got six miles of real estate to spread out all over. So hopefully that’s another positive for us as we start to look at the return of the schedule.”
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) April 7, 2020
With this weekend serving as the normal spot on the calendar for the Masters, golf fans around the country — and the world — are surely missing out. But the revised schedule — which has golf returning in early August, playoff events in late August and early September, and two majors and the Ryder Cup in September and November — at the very least provides a glimmer of optimism.
“We want to be sure that we don’t appear tone-deaf at this point, but it’s nice to just have something to look forward to,” Tyson said. “And for most of us in the Northeast, Augusta and the Masters marks the start of the golf season, so everybody’s used to getting out there. In Boston, with golf courses closed, this gives us a little glimmer of hope to look forward to, I hope. We’re definitely excited about it.”