The Philippine Golf Tour resumes after a long eight-month hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic with a two-tournament “bubble” for the men’s and ladies’ circuits on Nov. 17-20 and Dec. 8-11 at Riviera’s Couples and Langers courses, respectively, in Silang, Cavite.
The resumption is aimed not only at providing opportunities for the pros again but also at underscoring that golf can live up to its reputation as one of the safer sports allowed to re-start in new normal times.
“The management of Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. has studied the possibility of scheduling two tournaments to end the year and presented our Covid-19 protocols and new guidelines to the Games and Amusements Board and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for their approval,” said PGTI general manager Colo Ventosa.
Two events were actually held before the pandemic – the ICTSI Pradera Classic, a spillover tournament capping the third season of PGT Asia last January, and The Country Club Invitational, the flagship event of each PGT season, last March.
But very little about the last tournament would be like the opening round of the re-start of the circuit as the pros will return to a new set of rules and safety protocols, including restricting the players’ movements inside the bubble.
A memo was sent to all the players over the weekend, outlining and detailing the various procedures to be implemented during the two-tournament run.
This includes mandatory RT-PCR swab tests and Standard Q Covid-19 Ag (Antigen) test with the PGTI to cover only one test per tournament. Daily temperature check will be conducted. Players will also be required to fill out a health questionnaire that would include the RT PCR results and Standard Q Covid-19 Ag (Antigen), which will be submitted to the GAB.
Registration is ongoing with the PGTI expecting around 78 players in men’s and ladies’ sides to participate. Deadline for listup is on Nov. 10.
The health and safety guidelines, including during the tournament proper, are all detailed in the PGTI Standard and Procedures at www.pgt.ph.
The PGTI has also tapped the Bayleaf Hotel in Cavite as its official hotel during the bubble although players are allowed to use personal cars but strictly to the hotel only. Shuttle buses will be provided to and from hotel to the golf course. Face masks and face shields must also be worn inside the bus. Once the player leaves the bubble, he will not be allowed to re-enter.
A player with positive result or with Covid-19 symptoms will be immediately placed in the isolation room of the hotel or the golf course. Contact tracing will be conducted and all the necessary disinfection steps will be done.
“The fight against this virus is not over, so we shouldn’t keep our guards down,” said Ventosa, stressing that the GAB/IATF may cancel the tournaments once the safety and health protocols are violated.
The PGTI cut short its 72-hole Qualifying School for both local and foreign players mid-March following the outbreak of global health crisis, forcing the pros out of the fairways for a considerable length of time.
Scrapped were multi-events lined up for the PGT, the PGA Asia and the Ladies PGT, stymieing a well-laid out plan and program for the start of the new decade for PGTI following a milestone 10-year long staging of the premier circuit at the country’s various championship courses.