PGA Tour launches LOCALiQ Series for international players
US golf’s PGA Tour has today announced the launch of a new series of home-based tournaments for professionals who usually compete on its international tours.
The venture, organised in partnership with digital marketing services firm and PGA Tour sponsor LOCALiQ, is intended to provide playing opportunities for members of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour China, all of which have had their seasons cancelled or heavily disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 LOCALiQ series will comprise seven 54-hole tournaments in south-eastern USA and a final 72-hole event at a site to be determined.
The tournaments will feature 144 players and have minimum prize funds of $100,000, with the winner receiving $16,000.
Rob Ohno, PGA Tour senior vice-president, International Tours, said: “We have so many gifted, hardworking players who were anxious to play this season on their respective Tours before the effects of COVID-19 caused us to change our plans. To be able to provide this Series and these quality playing opportunities is very gratifying.
“Our aim is always to provide players with a PGA Tour-like experience. I truly believe the players will be delighted each week when they arrive at the tournament sites.”
The series will begin in the first week of August, with three events in the US state of Georgia - the first at the Golf Club of Georgia from 4 to 7 August, the second at Echelon Golf Club from 10 to 13 August and the third at the Callaway Resort and Gardens from 25 to 28 August.
The fourth event will be held at Auburn University Club in Alabama from 31 August to 3 September.
The series will then move to Florida for three events - the first at the Hidden Hill Golf Club from 22 to 25 September, the second at Harbor Hills Country Club from 29 September to 2 October and the third at The Club at Weston Hills from 6 to 9 October.
The closing tournament, involving the top 78 eligible players, will be held from 26 to 30 October.
Michael Flanagan, president and general manager of LOCALiQ’s sports and entertainment division, said: “We could not think of a better way to leverage our relationship with the PGA Tour than to bring professional golf to local communities. As a comprehensive provider of digital marketing services, LocaliQ enables local businesses and their communities to thrive."Meanwhile, the remainder of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season will take place without spectators as the country battles an increase in coronavirus cases, it has been announced.
In a coordinated announcement, the organisers of the remaining tournaments on the schedule said yesterday they will not welcome fans due to ongoing concerns over the health situation.
The five tournaments that have taken place since the Tour resumed have been held without spectators.
A limited number of fans were to be allowed at this week's Memorial Tournament in Ohio but those plans were dropped after a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.
Yesterday’s announcement means there will be no spectators in attendance through to the Tour Champonship, the final event of the PGA Tour, in Atlanta, Georgia on 4 to 7 September.
Allison Fillmore, executive director of the Tour Championship, said: “These decisions are never easy and we would like to thank the city of Atlanta and PGA Tour headquarters for the extensive collaboration as we arrived at what was the best decision for all involved.”
The two other legs of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Northern Trust at TPC Boston on 20 to 23 August, and the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, Illinois on 27 to 30 August have also been affected.
The PGA of America has already announced there will be no spectators at the PGA Championship, now the first major, at Harding Park in San Francisco from 6 to 9 August.
The US Open and Masters, the other two US majors, have yet to confirm if spectators will be permitted at their events. The British Open, the fourth of the majors, has been cancelled this year.
The Hero Open, scheduled for 30 July to 2 August, will be the second event on the Tour’s ‘UK Swing’, the five-week series of tournaments in England and Wales starting later this month.
The series was organised as part of a reworking of the 2020 calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hero is already involved with the European Tour as a sponsor of the Hero Indian Open, which was cancelled this year, and the Hero Challenge, a series of night golf events held under lights, in a deal that has recently been extended to 2022.
The European Tour resumed last week with the Austrian Open, and the UK Swing starts with the British Masters in Newcastle on 23 to 26 July.