FORT WORTH — The PGA Tour spent two months learning about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to develop a safe plan to return, followed by another month hoping for the best.
Commissioner Jay Monahan said his confidence in the plan came with a dose of uncertainty.
“If we … got into a situation where we were dealing with a number of positive tests, that’s something — candidly — that I lost a lot of sleep over in the weeks that preceded coming,” Monahan said.
Monahan felt every bit a winner as Daniel Berger at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The tour administered 487 tests for the new coronavirus at Colonial, and the results on all of them came back negative. On the golf course, a dozen of some of golf’s best players — from Rory McIlroy to Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele to Jordan Spieth — all had a chance going into the final round.
“Listen, there is more work to be done,” Monahan said. “But this is a phenomenal start to our return.”
It was a healthy return, except for a somewhat sickly finish.
Berger made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and heard the deafening silence of a big moment with no spectators allowed at Colonial. He got into a playoff when Collin Morikawa missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win and Xander Schauffele missed his try from 25 feet.
The playoff was held on the 17th hole, another reminder of how this week was different. Playoffs always start on the 18th hole because that’s where the gallery is packed into the grandstands. With no fans allowed, and with the 17th tee right next to the clubhouse, off they went.
Morikawa hit a deft chip to 3 feet. Berger chipped even closer from behind the green and rapped in his par. They presumably were headed to the 18th tee until Morikawa’s 3-footer spun out, and Berger was the winner.