PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The Players Championship began as scheduled Thursday morning, with an autograph ban in place. The PGA Tour said it continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and plans to deliver another update by noon ET.
For now, spectators are allowed at the TPC Sawgrass, although it was a slow-arriving number of fans in the early-morning hours. The first tee time was at 7:40 a.m.
The PGA Tour said the autograph policy will continue at other scheduled events.
“Fans have been informed that, out of an overabundance of caution, players will not sign autographs/interact as they would typically expect at a tournament,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.
On Tuesday, commissioner Jay Monahan said the PGA Tour had formed a coronavirus task force, which includes the tour’s medical director and chief administrative officer, to monitor information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
As of Thursday morning, next week’s Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, as well as the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship in two weeks in Austin, Texas, are still scheduled as planned.
“The PGA Tour is aware of rapidly changing developments regarding COVID-19,” the tour said in a statement. “With the information currently available, The Players Championship will continue as scheduled, although we will absolutely continue to review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and local health administrations.
“This is obviously a very fluid situation that requires constant review, communication and transparency, and we are dedicated to all three aspects. The PGA TOUR will provide an additional update by 12 p.m. ET on Thursday.”