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Spectators allowed to attend golf tournament

Spectators will be allowed to attend the second annual PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course, organisers have confirmed.

It was announced at a press conference at Port Royal today that the PGA Tour and Bermuda Government have jointly granted permission for a limited number of general admission spectators per day for the 36-hole championship to be held at the Southampton layout from October 26 to November 1.

The daily allowance, whose number will be determined under the island's public-gatherings protocol, follows a review conducted by local health authorities and means Bermuda residents as well as visitors will be able to attend the event.

It will mark the first time that general admission spectators have been welcomed on-site at a PGA Tour tournament since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Bermuda has been widely recognised for its achievements in controlling the pandemic, with just a handful of current cases.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranks the island at Level 2 and Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office waived its 14-day quarantine requirement for UK residents returning from Bermuda.

The island also earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) “Safe Travels” Stamp, awarded to destinations with top health-safety protocols.

Bermuda ranks highest in the Americas for per-capita testing, with more than 60,000 coronavirus tests carried out to date, and a vigilant contact-tracing process.

Tickets went on sale yesterday and can be purchased online while quantities last through the tournament website at bermudachampionship.com.

Gates are open to the public Thursday, October 28 to Sunday, November 1; daily general admission tickets are available online only for $35.

Victoria Isley, the Bermuda Tourism Authority chief sales and marketing officer, said: “We are grateful to Bermuda's Government, health officials, the PGA Tour and Bruno Event Team, whom we've worked jointly with throughout the process of planning for this year's event.

“The second Bermuda Championship is a testament to the island's successful health and safety record which has enabled an event of this scope to go ahead.”

She added: “As title sponsor, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is thrilled to make this possible for Bermuda visitors and our local community.

Through four days of live coverage on The Golf Channel, the Bermuda Championship will showcase the island's wide-open spaces, pristine beauty and the naturally physically-distanced sport of golf.”

Spectator protocols will include temperature checks, wearing of face masks upon entry and around the golf course, social distancing with six feet of separation, and the use of hand sanitiser, with units placed throughout the venue, including entrances, restrooms and concession locations.

For the safety of spectators and players, autographs will not be permitted.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour previously announced several significant changes to the 2020 Bermuda Championship, including a $1-million increase to the purse, for a $4 million total; 500 FedExCup points awarded to the winner; field-size expansion from 120 to 132; and the winner qualifying for the 2021 Masters Tournament. All four rounds will be televised on Golf Channel, with more than 50 hours of total broadcast time.

Sean Sovacool, the tournament director, said: “Excitement continues to build as preparations come together for our second year.

“Along with the recently announced tournament adjustments, being the first PGA Tour event to welcome spectators on-site is a milestone the Bermuda Championship is proud to have achieved.

“Additional opportunities remain to take part in other capacities — including entertaining in our hospitality venue, playing alongside a Tour professional in our Pro-Am, or participating as a marshal volunteer.”

Last year's first PGA Tour event held in Bermuda raised more than $225,000 for 25 local charities.

Among them was the island's junior golf programme through the Bermuda Golf Foundation, and the newly announced Bermuda Junior Championship. Slated to kick off in 2021, the junior championship will be held in Bermuda for the next four years, hosted by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and the Bermuda Championship, in association with the BTA.

The largest charity beneficiary of the 2019 Bermuda Championship was the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), a partner in last year's related Bermuda Climate Risk Forum held during the week of the tournament, who received $124,400 from the inaugural event for marine science and education initiatives.

Kaitlin Noyes, the director of education and community engagement at BIOS, said: “The grant has been invaluable in supporting our budding young scientists here at BIOS this summer, as well as the development of new educational initiatives in these unprecedented times.

“We are incredibly grateful and look forward to continuing to work with the Bermuda Championship, the Bermuda Climate Risk Forum, and the BTA team over the coming year.”

For further details on the Bermuda Championship visit www.bermudachampionship.com.

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Published September 29, 2020 at 1:35 am (Updated September 29, 2020 at 7:09 pm)

Spectators allowed to attend golf tournament

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