BY RON GREEN JR.
Around 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan pulled into his driveway in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and took a moment.
The second round of the Players Championship – the PGA Tour’s showcase event – should have been in progress at the famous Stadium Course a few minutes away. The weather was perfect, the golf course ideal and the anticipation piqued.
Four days earlier, Monahan was imagining how the week might unfold, thinking about the sponsors and players, the guests and the fans, the months of planning coming together for the single biggest event the tour puts on.
Less than 48 hours earlier, Monahan had entertained guests at his house as he typically does on Wednesday night of Players week when the low backbeat of concern about the coronavirus had begun to thump.
By mid-afternoon on Friday, when the Stadium Course should have been buzzing, Monahan sat quietly in his car. That morning at 9 a.m., Monahan had stood in front of the world to explain why the Players Championship had been canceled after one round.
A global pandemic had reached Ponte Vedra Beach.
It happened so fast.
In his car, Monahan had a simple thought:
“What the hell just happened?”
This is the story of how a global health crisis brought tournament golf to a sudden, unsettling halt and how through unprecedented communication and cooperation, the leaders of the game’s most influential organizations brought it back.
GGP’s account is based on interviews with the leaders of six organizations that constitute the large majority of the power structure in the world game. Interviews for this story were conducted by Steve Eubanks, Sean Fairholm, Ron Green Jr., John Hopkins, Lewine Mair and John Steinbreder of the GGP staff.
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