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Commissioner hails ‘phenomenal start’ to PGA Tour return

Brooks Koepka of the US lines up his putt on the 17th hole during the fourth round of the 100th PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri, US, 12 August 2018. (Photo: EPA-EFE / SHAWN THEW)

June 14 (Reuters) - Commissioner Jay Monahan said on Sunday the PGA Tour's return from a three-month COVID-19 shutdown was off to a phenomenal start and that he will share information about its safety measures with other sports looking to restart play.

By Frank Pingue

Monahan, speaking at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas during the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, said any changes to the Tour’s safety plan going forward would be slight adjustments as opposed to an overhaul.

“There is more work to be done, but this is a phenomenal start to our return,” Monahan said. “There’s no question about it.

“It’s gone about as well as we could have hoped for. I’m proud of our team for that.”

The field that assembled at Colonial, which was closed to fans to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, was worthy of a major championship, featuring the top five in the world rankings and 16 of the top 20.

Daniel Berger emerged from a tightly-bunched leaderboard to win the tournament after beating fellow American Collin Morikawa in a playoff.

Monahan praised the players for adapting to the new safety protocols and said there was a sigh of relief when pre-tournament tests of the golfers and caddies came back negative.

With the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League working towards resuming their seasons and Major League Baseball yet to start its delayed campaign, Monahan said he will be happy to share information about the Tour’s safety measures.

“We’ll share everything that we’ve learned and how we’re applying our protocols, and I would imagine some of those calls will happen over the next several days,” he added.

The PGA Tour will now head to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for next week’s RBC Heritage.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

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