Crowds are in but fan-to-player fist bumps are out during next week’s Memorial Tournament. Also out are autographs, cash payments and — on June 2 — face coverings previously required for the unvaccinated.
Attendance will be limited to between 50% and 100% of capacity, but potentially as many as 20,000 spectators a day could socially distance (or not) at Muirfield Village Golf Club for the June 3-6 PGA Tour event in Dublin. Quite a change from last July, when COVID-19 safety protocols led to a fan-free tournament that was pushed back from its normal May-June date.
“We’re thrilled to have patrons again,” Memorial tournament director Dan Sullivan said, adding that while things will feel more normal, the event will not return to full normal until 2022.
Still, business as usual is expected to increase on Wednesday when mandated mask-wearing for unvaccinated Ohioans ends. Unlike vaccinated spectators, unvaccinated fans are required to wear face coverings during Monday and Tuesday practice rounds, but Sullivan confirmed that tournament officials will not enforce the requirement. Masks will be available at the gates for those who want/need them.
“We’ll be on the honor system,” Sullivan said.
The Rolex clock outside of the clubhouse at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Only fans already in possession of a weekly badge will be allowed onto the grounds — the ticket waiting list is expected to have been exhausted by Friday and no public walk-up sales are available — which means it is TV time for everyone else. But even attending fans will feel more distanced than usual. Out of concern for safety, players are off-limits to up-close-and-personal fan interaction. In other words, spectators should give high-fiving, fan-friendly Rickie Fowler more breathing room than normal.
Autographs are prohibited, as are Segways (that’s right, the list of banned items includes the two-wheeled people movers), still cameras (but only Thursday through Sunday) and backpacks. Up to two ounces of hand sanitizer is permissible, though spectators will find plenty of sanitizing stations located around the course. Check out http://www.thememorialtournament.com for a full list of prohibited items.
The junior clinic will not be held for the second consecutive year, but the Wednesday pro-am returns, featuring Peyton and Eli Manning. Memorial honoree Nick Price, denied a full-scale ceremony last July due to the pandemic, will be honored at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 18th green.