The PGA Tour has told its players that it will discontinue required COVID-19 testing for vaccinated and non-vaccinated partipicants starting the week of the 3M Open that begins on July 22.
In a memo to the players, acquired by Golf Digest, PGA Tour Senior Vice President Tyler Dennis outlined what the future looks like for COVID-19 protocols. He said the programs being discontinued starting with the 3M in Minnesota are: weekly on-site testing, complimentary at-home testing, all pro-am testing, and the stipend program that paid players when they had to withdraw from a tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test.
“We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open,” Dennis wrote.
The tour, which does not require vaccinations to compete, has not disclosed how many players or other participants have been vaccinated. A tour spokesperson declined on Monday to say what the vaccination rate is. According to the CDC, 66 percent of American adults have received at least one vaccination shot.
The memo said on-site testing will be available for those who are symptomatic and emphasised that participants should continue to fill out a daily health survey and notify the tour of any symptoms. The Korn Ferry Tour, meantime, will continue to do on-site testing.
Though unvaccinated people don’t have to undergo testing, according to the memo, there are distinctions made. Vaccinated individuals will not have to undergo contact tracing should they be around someone who has COVID-19, while those who haven’t been vaccinated must notify the tour and follow contact tracing protocols.
The memo says that those who have been vaccinated “should” upload a copy of their vaccination record to their Healthy Roster account, but the tour will require proof of vaccination should the player be involved in a contact tracing situation, a tour spokesperson said.
The decision to end testing at events comes after 19 months of protocols established by the PGA Tour, which cancelled play after one round of the Players Championship in March 2020 and resumed competition on June 11, 2020, in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Since testing began, more than 25 tour players have tested positive for COVID-19, including some of the game’s most high-profile athletes: Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland and Padraig Harrington. No PGA Tour player has reported serious illness or hospitalisation due to the coronavirus.