The PGA Tour's return this past weekend saw Daniel Berger take home the Charles Schwab Challenge crown after a playoff hole victory over Collin Morikawa down in Fort Worth Texas. Millions of fans tuned in to the event on television, but none were allowed to attend in person due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
The successful tournament marked a new -- albeit temporary -- age of competitive golf, one that doesn't boast the usual luxury of food and beverage vendors catered for massive crowds. For now, professional linksmen will have to adjust to an even quieter atmosphere on the course as they attempt to make their mark on the world's premier golf circuit.
But what about amateur golf? Will organizations like Mass Golf be able to carry out scheduled summer tournaments in a similar manner? The short answer is yes, but there are still plenty of question marks.
"All of our events will be following the health and safety guidelines to a T," said Mass Golf Executive Director and CEO Jesse Menachem. "Those include 12 minute tee time separations, no shot gun events, and every bit of social distancing and face mask covering when necessary will be in place. We are going to make sure it's done well and done right."
After a long wait this spring, Mass golf competitors teed off for the first time this season on Monday afternoon. A total of 38 golfers wound up qualifying for the 112th Massachusetts Amateur Championship, set to take place July 13-17 at The Kittansett Club. Monday's opening qualifiers were held at Marshfield Country Club, Pocassett Golf Club and Stockbridge Golf Club, with six more scheduled in the coming weeks at Green Hill Golf Club, Gardner Municipal Golf Club, Springfield Country Club, Presidents Golf Club, Granite Links Golf Club and Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill.
Admittedly, the qualifying events don't normally draw large crowds anyway. But when it comes to upcoming Mass Golf Championships such as the aforementioned Amateur, the Ouimet Memorial and the Mid-Amateur, to name a few, Menachem and Co. are taking more of a wait and see approach in terms of crowd regulations.
"At the moment we're going to keep it to immediate family as far as spectators go," he said. "We also have a no caddie policy under the current guidelines, and we'll work with host clubs to determine the best situation to keep everyone safe."
Mass Golf has already missed out on it's unique Four-Ball Tournament, as well as the the Senior Four-Ball and Open Championship. None of the three events will be rescheduled or held at any point in 2020.
The good news is that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, all the remaining tournaments should be carried out as planned. That means plenty of our talented young golfers from the North Shore will be back on the tee very soon, hoping to etch their names in history among the all-time mass amateur greats.