Luxury travel eases Aussie PGA return fears
USE of a sponsor's private jets is easing some concerns for Australia's top golfers about returning to play on the PGA Tour next month amid the coronavirus crisis in the US.
The tour plans to resume from its shutdown on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, making it only the second major sport to restart in the US after UFC returned in Florida at the weekend.
With more than 80,000 deaths and almost 1.4 million cases of covid-19 in the country, as well as state-by-state restrictions on gatherings, there are significant fears about professional golf returning in June.
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No fans will be allowed to attend tournaments for at least a month and the tour is expected to reveal details of its safety measures next week. But reports suggest players, caddies, tournament officials and tour employees will be asked to undergo coronavirus tests before travelling and will be subject to at least two tests on site at each event.
Former world No.1 Jason Day and five-time tour winner Marc Leishman admit they have hesitations but will lean on mutual sponsor NetJets for private planes to travel to and from tournaments.
More than 35 PGA Tour players endorse the private plane company including Day, Leishman and fellow Australian Cameron Smith.
"We're very lucky to be able to fly private, so that's at least one area I don't have to worry about," said Day from Ohio.
Adam Scott, currently in Australia, can use his own plane but may have to quarantine in the US for 14 days before playing his first tournament.
Day has used a private motorhome as accommodation for the majority of his career and says that will come in handy as he ambitiously attempts to play 11 tournaments in 13 weeks of the revised season.
However, Leishman will stay in hotels and says that is a concern given wife Audrey suffered a near fatal illness in 2015 when she suffered toxic shock syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
"I'm being very careful, particularly with Audrey's history," Leishman said.
"Hotels are a concern but I think the PGA Tour will be taking extra precautions.
"I won't be going to any crowded bars or restaurants, really. I'll be going to the course and then having dinner in my room and that's it."