March 12, 2020, the sports world stood still. The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS all
suspended their seasons. The NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring
championships. The PGA Tour canceled The Players and its next three events.
one day, the coronavirus pandemic ended sports as we knew them.
Texas Golf Association was among the hundreds of non-professional sports
organizations forced to make the same difficult decisions about the future of
their schedules. Ultimately, the TGA canceled 11 events and put the 2020 golf
season on hold.
much like the rest of the sports world, the TGA was determined to return to
competition safely. With the health of players, staff, volunteers and the public
in mind, the TGA leadership decided to return to competitive golf in June.
the official guidance allowed for organized group golf to move forward, we
wanted to provide an opportunity for golfers to return to competition while
ensuring the safety of everyone involved,” TGA Executive Director Stacy Dennis
said. “In addition to focusing on expert guidance for safe participation, we
were committed to making sure our events could be conducted at the elite level
we strive for and in full alignment with the Rules of Golf.”
TGA worked tirelessly to preserve as much of the 2020 season as possible. To
help offset the canceled events, seven new events were added to the competitive
schedule. During a season when uncertainty loomed, the TGA and Legends Junior
Tour safely conducted 44 multi-day championships, 36 18-hole qualifiers and 153
competitive rounds of golf. In fact, the Legends Junior Tour completed an
entire season, with only the Bluebonnet Championship having to be rescheduled
from its original dates in May to Sept. 26-27.
has been so great to see the buy-in mentality from everyone,” TGA Director of
Competitions John Cochran said. “We knew that if we didn’t modify the way we
have been accustomed to running events to mirror the changing times, we
wouldn’t be able to conduct events. We developed our game plan based on the state
guidelines. Everyone understood that this was how we would be able to provide
the opportunity to continue playing competitive golf across the state.”
TGA valued the competition, but not without strict health protocols at each
event. In May, a working group of the TGA Championship Committee developed
significant guidelines to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.
the very beginning, before organized golf was an option, the group of players,
staff, Board of Directors and Rules officials developed objective criteria
through which every decision and policy would have to pass,” Dennis said. “We
had lots of healthy conversation and constructive debate.”
new policies included temperature screenings, digital scorecards, hand
sanitizer and gloves placed at water cooler stations, no bunker rakes, required
flagsticks remain in the hole, increased time gaps between tee times and
required all staff and volunteers to wear a face covering.
were really cognizant of what we had to think about and do,” TGA Director of
Competitions Kellen Kubasak said. “The Championship Committee wanted to ensure
our staff could still conduct a championship with the same professionalism and
excellence our players have come to expect, but with the safety of each player
as the top priority.”
state and local health officials determined golf was a safe activity, the TGA
and Legends Junior Tour first returned to competitive golf at the 21st Veritex
Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship at Lakewood Country Club from June 2-4.
week culminated with the crowning of J. Holland Humphries as the 2020 champion.
It was a breath of fresh air to be back on the golf course, and the TGA’s
commitment to conducting safe and competitive events never wavered the rest of
the season, as COVID-19 mandates changed, our Championship Committee and staff were
committed to adapt and adjust on the fly,” Kubasak said. “We worked extremely
hard to protect the field as we slowly returned closer to normalcy.”
total, the TGA hosted 33 multi-day events between June and December. Those
included the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur, won by Bentley Cotton at the
University of Texas Golf Club; the 94th Texas Junior Amateur, won by Zach
Heffernan and Lauren Nguyen at Horseshoe Bay Resort and the 111th Texas
Amateur, won by Trey Bosco at Boot Ranch.
quality of tournaments the TGA and LJT ran this summer were amazing with
everything going on,” said Bosco, a freshman golfer at Baylor University. “Everyone
did their part to make sure the tournaments were competitive and that everyone
stayed safe while playing in the events.”
the disruptions in their seasons, many sports made a similar return to competition.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup Finals on Sept. 28. The
NBA crowned the Los Angeles Lakers as the World Champions on Oct. 11. And the
Los Angeles Dodgers ended a 32-year World Series drought on Oct. 27.
unique return required dedicated employees, volunteers, athletes and government
officials. Although sports look differently than they did nine months ago, they
were a special escape from the unprecedented challenges the world faced in
was a season defined by uncertainty, commitment and success. It was one the TGA
will never forget.
honestly cannot imagine a group of people doing better work, and I am more
proud of our team than I can express,” Dennis said. “I saw incredible
creativity and flexibility as we worked to reach the best solutions we could. Once
our plans came together, and then as they changed over and over again, I saw
commitment to the promise we made to value the health of our participants above
To learn more about the TGA’s return to golf in
2020, watch video here. To
view the 2021 schedule, click here.