The 120th U.S. Open will be played in September without fans at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, the United States Golf Association announced Wednesday.
Spectators also won’t be allowed at next week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” USGA CEO Mike Davis said in a statement. “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 U.S. Opens.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that even without spectators, the U.S. Open will be a “welcome sight for sports fans across the country and will help restore a sense of normalcy as we build back better than before.”
The U.S. Open was originally scheduled to be played at Winged Foot on June 18-21, but it was pushed to Sept. 17-20 because of the pandemic.
“This will not be a typical U.S. Open in several respects,” John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships, said in a statement. “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. We are very proud to give our competitors and champions a platform to chase their dreams. Their perseverance motivates us, in a year when such tenacity means so much.”
The Masters Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, hasn’t yet announced whether fans will be permitted.
Fans haven’t been permitted at the PGA Tour’s first eight events since the restart of play, including this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude’s Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, said next week’s PGA Championship would feel different without thousands of fans lining the fairways and surrounding greens at TPC Harding Park.
“I think we’ve experienced no fans, and that’s been very unusual,” Simpson said on Wednesday, before the USGA’s announcement. “We’re starting to get used to it. But I think next week will feel unusual again, being a major, when there’s tens of thousands lining the fairways 10 rows deep. We’re used to that, every major being sold out long in advance.
“I think next week’s going to feel slightly different, and who knows what will happen at the U.S. Open or Masters. But again, if we have no fans there, it won’t feel like a normal major. As much as we want it to, I don’t think it will.”
The USGA said tickets purchased directly through the USGA for the U.S. Open will be automatically refunded.