Jordan Spieth praises PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan as fans return in US

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth has heaped praise on PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for steering the US circuit back from a point where it was feared last season would be lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic to fans now starting to return to events.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to the media during last year's The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to the media during last year's The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

This week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando will take place in front of a 25 per cent crowd capacity, with a limited attendance also set to be allowed for The Players Championship at Sawgrass next week.

Won by Tyrrell Hatton, last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was the final event to be concluded before the PGA Tour went into lockdown due to the pandemic, a decision that was announced by Monahan after the opening round of The Players Championship.

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“There's a lot that surprises me,” said Spieth of where the game stands at the moment to just over 12 months ago, with the US circuit being closed down until June before it became the first tour around the world to start up again.”

Referring to his current role as chairman of the circuit’s Player Advisory Council, he added: “I know after being on those calls there was a lot of concern about whether we would be able to play golf in 2020 and beyond.

“The plans that were set in place, the safety measures, they got the players but also the staff and the tournaments to feel comfortable coming out and taking what risk there was and is to bring golf back.

“That was significant and certainly can't be overlooked by all the people involved in allowing it to happen and making it happen.”

A number of players, including world No 1 Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, tested positive for Covid-19 last season either before or after PGA Tour events.

But a reworked schedule was completed and the wraparound 2020-21 campaign is now into its Florida Swing.

“I think personally when I look back, I give a lot of props to Jay Monahan for the work that he put in,” added Spieth.

“A lot of times it's easier to see how good a leader is when you're in tough times than when you're in good times.

“I think I speak for most of the players in saying that this last year has proved that we have phenomenal leadership.”

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