LOS ANGELES (AFP) – World number three Brooks Koepka is bracing for a “weird” experience of playing golf tournaments without fans as the US PGA Tour eyes a return to competition in June.
“It’s going to be so weird, man,” Koepka said on the Pardon My Take sports podcast on the prospect of playing without galleries because of continuing coronavirus concerns.
“The energy that the fans bring, that’s what we all live for, we all strive for,” Koepka said. “You want to play coming down the stretch and have everyone cheering for you. Imagine this: you sink the putt on the last hole and no one’s clapping. You’re just there by yourself, and you’re like ‘Yes!’ Just you, your caddie and just silence.”
Lack of a gallery could have a more concrete effect as well, Koepka said.
“Every once in a while, we just hit some foul balls and the fans kind of help you find it,” he said. “I mean, guys are going to lose balls because of that.”
Koepka’s comments came a day before the US PGA Tour said last Thursday it is targetting a June 11 restart at Colonial Country Club in Texas, the first of four tournaments that will be played without fans in attendance.
The RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit are scheduled to follow.
In announcing the revised schedule to a season halted after the first round of the Players Championship on March 12, tour commissioner Jay Monahan said officials would follow the guidance of local and state health authorities.
“The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our number one priority, and our hope is to play a role – responsibly – in the world’s return to enjoying the things we love,” Monahan said.