NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - Silence is common courtesy in the sport of golf, and there will be plenty of it at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship this year.
Officials with The Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing and Finance announced Friday that no spectators will be allowed on the grounds at Victoria National Golf Course due to concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made by the Golf Gives Back Board in conjunction with the PGA TOUR.
“It is with great sadness that we must announce, after months of careful planning and consideration, the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will be contested August 27-30 without general spectators or hospitality guests onsite at Victoria National,” Tournament Director Laureen Cates said. “The tournament has been dedicated to charitable giving in the region for more than eight years. However, we feel that it is our social responsibility to move forward with a competition-only event this year.”
Events coinciding with tournament week have also been canceled, including the Old National Bank Gold Gives Back Charity Program and the Tri-State Orthopaedic Varsity Shootout.
“We just didn’t feel like we could support the government mandates put in place for social distancing, and the other things out there that we need to follow for a group this size,” Cates said. “We didn’t find a way it would be possible. Golf Is a spectator sport, so you follow the group in the lead, so there was just no way to have everyone out here in a safe environment.”
With no crowd on hand, this means a big hit for non-profit agencies the tour benefits each year. One of these non-profits includes Youth First, whose mission is to strengthen youth and families through programs preventing substance abuse and maximizing student success.
“It does impact our region’s non profits. We have enjoyed the relationships and the benefits of being part of the championship for many years now.” Parri Black, president and CEO of Youth First said. “I’m guessing Youth First has benefited to the tune of about $80,000 over the last eight years through the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, so that’s significant. It’s enough to fund a social worker for a whole year in area schools.”
“Upwards of $200,000 is where we’ve been over the years, donating over $1.7 million total,” Cates said. “It’s unfortunate for fans, but very unfortunate for the non-profits we support in this area.”
The only activity outside of the tournament itself that’s still set to occur is the Tropicana Evansville Pro-Am, which is currently scheduled for Tuesday, August 25. Officials say participants will use individual carts and social distancing measures will be put into place.
The Korn Ferry Tour Championship will be aired live on the Golf Channel from noon until 2 p.m. CST on Aug. 27-28, and from 2-4 p.m. on Aug. 29-30.