The USGA announced Wednesday that the US Open will be held without fans because of concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The major championship will still be played Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.
The US Open becomes the second major championship that will be conducted without fans. The PGA Championship, which will be held next week at Harding Park in San Francisco, announced last month that it will not have galleries. The Open Championship postponed its event to 2021. The Masters hasn’t yet made a decision regarding fans.
Officials at the USGA, the ruling body for golf in the US and host of the tournament, said the decision was made with the input of local and state government officials. USGA CEO Mike Davis announced the decision in a statement on Wednesday.
“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the US Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” Daivis said. “We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future US Opens.”
Joint Decision on No Fans for US Open
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the decision was necessary considering the devastation caused by COVID-19 in the Empire State. New York was one of the earliest — and hardest-hit — areas by COVID-19. The state has reported 418,000 cases of COVID-19 with 32,333 deaths attributed to the disease. Recently, however, it has managed to flatten the curve. There were more than 10,000 cases reported on April 24, but in recent weeks, the daily numbers have been under 1,000.
Cuomo is determined to keep the numbers low. He said that factored into the decision to have no fans at the US Open.
“We have come a long way in the fight against COVID-19, and I am so proud of New Yorkers who rose to the occasion and bent the curve,” Cuomo said. “I am pleased to welcome the USGA for the US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club this September, and while the tournament will look different this year with no fans and enhanced safety protocols, this event is a welcome sight for sports fans across the country and will help restore a sense of normalcy as we build back better than before.”
It’s a similar decision that Cuomo and the USTA made regarding the US Open of tennis, which is held at the end of August in Queens, New York. While there will be no fans at that event either, officials may allow a limited number of first responders to attend in a show of appreciation.
Other Changes for US Open
The tournament will follow protocols that the PGA Tour instituted when it restarted its season on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. Golfers will be tested, and a limited amount of personnel will be allowed on the grounds of Winged Foot.
Earlier in the year, the USGA canceled all of the traditional qualifying paths for those not already eligible to play in the US Open. Instead, the USGA altered its qualifications for the major championship, including providing the top two finishers of PGA Tour events with US Open entries.
“This will not be a typical US Open in several respects,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of Championships. “Would it have been easier to simply cancel or even move the 2020 championship, rather than play it in what has been the epicenter of the virus in our country? Possibly. But all of us at the USGA know how much the US Open matters, and we weren’t willing to give up on playing it at Winged Foot Golf Club so easily. We are very proud to give our competitors and champions a platform to chase their dreams.”
Bryson Dechambeau and Rory Mcllroy are the co-favorites (+800) to win the 2020 US Open, according to DraftKings. Brooks Koepka (+1000), Dustin Johnson (+1100), and Jon Rahm (+1200) round out the top five, while Tiger Woods (+1400) is currently the sixth favorite.