Golf is Returning Soon, Here's Why That Makes Sense

Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas. | Warren Little/Getty Images

The tweet was published at 10:03 AM EST on Monday and the sports world collectively lost its mind. Finally, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise barren sports landscape.

Wait, sports are being played? As early as June? Surely this must be a fake report from a fake account, right? Wrong. Joel Beall is a respected writer for Golf Digest. No way he would put these dates out there if they weren't based on information he received from reputable sources. So it seems the PGA Tour will indeed restart in about two months from now and three of the four majors are scheduled to be conducted, as well as the Ryder Cup.

Of course, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything it's that a lot can change between now and then and kibosh the whole thing. But if there's any sport that could be played soon, it's golf.

As an individual game played outside with no physical interaction with your competitors (outside of the customary post-match handshakes, which can easily be eliminated), golf is predisposed for social distancing. Stagger tee times by an extra minute or two, everyone stay at least two yards apart on the tee box, walk far away from each other down the fairway, don't share the same bunker rake, have one person who is designated to pull the pin, and boom: you're following all of the rules laid out by the CDC.

Golf tournaments can also be run by a handful of people as long as there are no fans in attendance. That eliminates food vendors, gallery guards, hospitality tents, and basically every other volunteer position in golf. Players can enforce the rules (hell, that's part of the game) so no need for rules officials. Camera operators can be in towers, so they won't be in jeopardy of getting too close to anyone. Then conduct post-match press conferences in a closed room where journalists send in their questions via email, or something like that. That's a tournament.

Unlike basketball or baseball or hockey, the other sports trying to restart or start their seasons, golf can go on in a fairly controlled environment without significant changes in standard operating procedure. Players would have to follow the rules and the feel of it all would be different without fans lining the ropes. But this game was built for social distancing and it appears that will help it be the first sport back in a handful of weeks.