The PGA Tour will no longer require players and caddies who are fully vaccinated to take weekly COVID-19 tests at tournament sites as a condition of competition.
The Tour sent a memo to players that was obtained by ESPN that lays out the broad details, with more information to come.
“As the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more readily available, more individuals are being vaccinated,” the Tour wrote in the memo. “PGA Tour Health and Safety protocol requires individuals to continue testing onsite under 14 full days have passed since their second dose (Moderna & Pfizer) or 14 full days since their single does (Johnson & Johnson). Once 14 days have passed individuals are no longer required to take a COVID-19 test when considered “inside the bubble” at PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions or Korn Ferry Tour events.”
The FDA and CDC on Monday called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Golf Digest first reported the contents of the PGA Tour memo.
Commissioner Jay Monahan has said in previous interviews that he did not foresee the Tour requiring its players to be vaccinated, due to the personal nature of the process, and that he believed it was a personal choice.
“I think the most important thing right now is education, and then we’re going to do everything we can do support vaccination for our players when it’s appropriate to do so,” Monahan said in March at the Players Championship.
But this step clearly encourages them to do so. Presently, all players and caddies, as well as coaches, trainers or agents who are part of their team who want to be at a tournament, must be tested on site. The Tour entered into an agreement with Sanford Health last year to administer the tests beginning in June after a 13-week break due to the pandemic.
Players who do not play the week previously are required to take an in-home test before traveling to the site. When the Tour offers a charter service between events, it also requires players to take a test prior to departure.
All of that would be waived if a player is fully vaccinated.
Although the date is underdetermined at this point, the Tour plans to roll back the on-site COVID-19 test on site and eventually will not offer. But those not vaccinated will still be required to test each week on their own and deliver a negative test before being allowed to compete. They will not be allowed on the course, practice areas or locker room until cleared.
The new system will also apply to PGA Tour personnel, officials and anyone else at events who is required to be tested now.