Because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the 120th U.S. Open at the Winged Foot Golf Club will be held without spectators, the United States Golf Association announced on Wednesday.
“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the U.S. Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, in a statement. “We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship.”
The venerable West Course at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck will host the Open Sept. 17-20, having been postponed from its customary June dates. This will be the sixth Open on the course.
“I am pleased to welcome the USGA for the U.S. 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,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.
“This will not be a typical U.S. 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 U.S. Open matters, and we weren’t willing to give up on playing it at Winged Foot Golf Club so easily."
The New York Department of Health earlier this month issued guidelines that players, caddies and all others who are on site will be deemed as essential personnel and will be exempt from having to quarantine 14 days after arrival in New York. All persons on site will be COVID-19 tested at a facility off-site before entering the grounds each day.
Tickets purchased directly through the USGA will be automatically refunded to the method of payment used by the purchaser. The USGA advises fans who purchased tickets through any secondary market sites to reach out to them for a refund.