The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths has exceeded 130,000, following a surge of new cases. Nationally, cases are nearing 3 million, the highest tally in the world and double the infections reported in the second most-affected country Brazil.
The Memorial will feature some of the biggest names in golf as world number one Rory McIlroy and five-times major winner Phil Mickelson are among those who have already committed to the event ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the decision to close the course to the general public was the right one.
“I know it was a difficult decision to make, but the organizers of the Memorial Tournament have put the health and safety of players and fans first,” said DeWine.
Since the PGA Tour returned to action in June, it has held spectator-free tournaments in Texas, South Carolina, Connecticut and Michigan. Muirfield will host this week’s Workday Charity Open, which will also be closed to the general public.
Six PGA Tour players have tested positive for COVID-19 through the first four tournaments. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)