THE PLAYERS Championship will return this year with a $15 million purse, despite the ongoing pandemic that shut down play on day one of the 2020 tournament.
This year, to safeguard the health of spectators and others, that will mean making special accommodations.
PLAYERS Championship Executive Director Jared Rice addressed those changes during a Chamber at Noon presentation Wednesday at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse.
He said that, after the challenges of last year, “we immediately got focused on how we’d come back.”
“We’ve announced recently that the tournament will have about 20% of our expected max capacity,” he told the audience.
In addition, attendees will be required to wear masks, watch their distance from others and wash their hands – the “three W’s,” as Rice put it.
There will also be a reduction in the hospitality venues. Those that will be open will be modified to have more open air, and seating will be adapted.
Corporate chalets will have modified layouts with a focus on social distancing and limited access.
However, the PGA Tour fan shop will still be open Friday through Sunday of advance week and during the tournament week.
According to Rice, social digital channels and telecasts will be important for those who are unable to attend in person. He said some restaurants may be planning watch parties.
“What won’t change is that we’ll have this tournament telecast to over 200 countries, 2 billion households,” he said. “And those cutaways of that telecast show our community and how great of a place it is to live, work and play.”
He said the players are excited about returning and that Rory McIlroy, who won the tournament in 2019, is technically the longest defending champion of THE PLAYERS.
Tickets for those who have attended in the past will be available on Monday, Feb. 1. On Feb. 16, tickets will be offered to the general public.
The tournament, to be held at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, is scheduled for March 9-14 this year with play commencing after two practice days. Further information is available at theplayers.com.
Rice expressed his hope that the tournament will be able to return to pre-COVID conditions in 2022.
The Chamber at Noon event was conducted by the Ponte Vedra Beach Division of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.