NEW YORK: This month’s Bermuda Championship will be the first PGA Tour event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to welcome general admission spectators on-site at a tournament venue, event officials and the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) have announced.
The PGA Tour and the Bermuda government have jointly granted permission for a limited number of general admission spectators per day for the second annual event at Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton, October 26–November 1. The daily allowance, whose number will be determined under the island’s public-gatherings regulations, follows a review by Bermuda’s health authorities and means Bermuda residents as well as visitors will be able to attend the event in person.
Bermuda Championship tickets went on sale September 28, and spectators can purchase tickets online (while quantities last) through the tournament website at bermudachampionship.com. Gates are open to the public Thursday, October 28 to Sunday, November 1.
“We are grateful to Bermuda’s government, health officials, the PGA Tour and Bruno Event Team, whom we’ve worked jointly with throughout the process of planning for this year’s event,” said Victoria Isley, BTA chief sales & marketing officer. “The second Bermuda Championship is a testament to the island’s successful health and safety record which has enabled an event of this scope to go ahead. As title sponsor, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is thrilled to make this possible for Bermuda visitors and our local community. Through four days of live coverage on The Golf Channel, the Bermuda Championship will showcase the island’s wide-open spaces, pristine beauty and the naturally physically-distanced sport of golf.”
Spectator protocols will include temperature checks, wearing of face masks upon entry and around the golf course, social distancing with six feet of separation, and the use of hand sanitiser, with units placed throughout the venue, including entrances, restrooms and concession locations. For the safety of spectators and players, autographs will not be permitted.
Since the PGA Tour season re-started in June following a three-month shutdown due to COVID-19, PGA Tour tournaments have successfully been held without the general public.
Bermuda has been widely recognised for its achievements in controlling the pandemic, with just a handful of current cases. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranks the island at Level 2 and Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office waived its 14-day quarantine requirement for UK residents returning from Bermuda. The island also earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) “Safe Travels” Stamp, awarded to destinations with top health-safety protocols. Bermuda ranks highest in the Americas for per-capita testing, with more than 60,000 coronavirus tests carried out to date, and a vigilant contact-tracing process.
The PGA Tour previously announced several significant changes to the 2020 Bermuda Championship, including a $1 million increase to the purse, for a $4m total; 500 FedExCup points awarded to the winner; field-size expansion from 120 to 132; and the winner qualifying for the 2021 Masters Tournament. All four rounds will be televised on Golf Channel, with more than 50 hours of total broadcast time.
“Excitement continues to build as preparations come together for our second year,” said Sean Sovacool, Tournament director. “Along with the recently announced tournament adjustments, being the first PGA Tour event to welcome spectators on-site is a milestone the Bermuda Championship is proud to have achieved. Additional opportunities remain to take part in other capacities—including entertaining in our hospitality venue, playing alongside a TOUR professional in our Pro-Am, or participating as a marshal volunteer.”
Last year’s first PGA Tour event held in Bermuda raised more than $225,000 for 25 Bermuda charities. Among them was the island’s junior golf programme through the Bermuda Golf Foundation, and the newly announced Bermuda Junior Championship. Slated to kick off in 2021, the junior championship will be held in Bermuda for the next four years, hosted by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and the Bermuda Championship, in association with the BTA.
The largest charity beneficiary of the 2019 Bermuda Championship was the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), a partner in last year’s related Bermuda Climate Risk Forum held during the week of the tournament. BIOS received $124,400 from the Bermuda Championship for marine science and education initiatives, including eco-voluntourism and citizen-science programmes launching this fall.
“The grant has been invaluable in supporting our budding young scientists here at BIOS this summer, as well as the development of new educational initiatives in these unprecedented times,” noted Director of Education & Community Engagement at BIOS, Kaitlin Noyes, who manages the institute’s Ocean Academy. “We are incredibly grateful and look forward to continuing to work with the Bermuda Championship, the Bermuda Climate Risk Forum, and the BTA team over the coming year.”