- The PGA Tour has been on hiatus since mid March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- High level men’s golf will return on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
- The reworked schedule will see the US Open played in September and the Masters in October.
Good news for betting enthusiasts abounds as many of the major professional sports that have been on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic are in the process of resuming play. NASCAR has already started racing again and the major European soccer leagues are in the process of returning. Later this Summer the NHL and NBA are expected to be back in business and (fingers crossed) Major League Baseball is still working out a plan for their truncated season.
One of the next sports on the horizon is PGA golf. The PGA Tour has been on hold since mid-March when the Players Championship was canceled after one round was played. After considerable deliberation the schedule for the remainder of the season was cut down to 36 events from 49. 22 have already been played and 10 have been canceled, most significantly the Players Championship and British Open.
The next golf action on the betting board will be the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas which gets underway on Thursday, June 11. Depending on your opinion of NASCAR and the UFC it might be considered the first major sport in the US to resume–at least some sports media outlets are reporting it that way. Get ready for an onslaught of golf after that as the Charles Schwab Challenge begins 25 straight weeks of scheduled PGA events.
STRANGE DAYS AS GOLF RETURNS WITHOUT FANS
Like every other sport, the PGA will hold their events without fans for the foreseeable future. While golf fans don’t bring the intensity that you see in a live hockey crowd they’re typically a ubiquitous part of the sport. Michael Tothe, Charles Schwab Challenge tournament director, is excited for the challenge of ushering in the return of golf but he admits that it’s going to be ‘unique’. He’s thinking that with creative TV coverage provided by NBC that the optics of the event won’t be that different without fans but the vibe will be strange:
“When the TV cameras come on, it’s not going to look that different, but with no spectators, it’s really going to be quiet here. There won’t be the buzz you normally would have with 25,000 fans every day. It’s going to be strange.’’
Another element of golf without fans–missing a fairway all of a sudden becomes a more significant problem.
The tournament is attracting an elite level field. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas are playing the event for the first time. Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson haven’t played in the Schwab tournament in years. Defending champion is Las Vegas resident Kevin Na and he’ll also be in the field.
The Charles Schwab Challenge odds to win show Rory McIlroy at the top of a wide open board priced at +800. He’s the only entrant with single digit odds. John Rahm (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1600), Webb Simpson (+1800), Bryson DeChambeau (+2200), Brooks Koepka (+2500) and Dustin Johnson (+2500) are also near the top of the board. Defending champion Kevin Na is a tempting choice at +5000 while a lot of ‘sharp’ players have their eye on the reigning PGA Rookie of the Year Sunjae Im who was in very good form before the sport was shut down.