PGTI to lure pros to a golf bubble

August 23, 2020
Butch Ramirez
Gan (left) with PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez.

THERE is hope for professional golf even during this pandemic-disrupted year.

The Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. (PGTI) announces its plan to restart  the men’s and women’s tours in six venues sometime in October.

As part of the plan, the PGTI will follow the example set by the National Basketball  Association (NBA) in organizing a bubble at the Walt Disney World of Sports in  Orlando to keep the players safe from the coronavirus.

“Like  in the NBA, the PGTI plans to create its own bubble where the participants are confined in a single venue for the duration of the tournament,” said Games and  Amusements Board (GAB) consultant for golf  Oliver Gan during in the 8th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.

Gan, who is representing GAB in discussions with PGTI officials for the planned restart, said as many as 80 professional golfers -- men and women --  are being invited to take part in the six-part golf tour.

Based on the the plan, the men’s and women’s tournaments will be played simultaneously in one venue.

“So far, there are already about 50 touring pros who have expressed interest to participate. It’s not easy because of the expenses needed, such as entry fees and hotel accomodations,” explained Gan during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

“Medyo magastos lang dahil each participant will have to spend an average of  P20,000 per tournament or a total of P120,000 for the six-week campaign.Kailangan talaga may sponsor sila,” explained the 35-year-old Gan, who is also program officer of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI).

A former junior golf standout, Gan  said organizers are are now  conducting a  survey among the  touring pros whether gathering them together under one roof for six straight weeks is really possible.

Among the venues being eyed  by PGTI  are Splendido Taal Golf Club and Summit Point in Batangas, Riviera in Cavite, Pradera Verde in Pampanga and Subic Bay International in Zambales.

Under the plan, all participants will undergo swab testing and will not be allowed to leave the designated hotels and playing venues once the season starts.

They are also not allowed to bring their own vehicles during the tournament proper.

They will be ferried by private buses to  and from the golf clubs.

No visitors will also be allowed at the hotels and the playing venues during the tournament proper.

Gan said GAB will also be present during the tournament to make sure that health and safety protocols being imposed by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases ) will be followed.

Fines and  suspensions await pros who will be found in violation of the  said health and safety protocols, according to Gan.