Farmers Insurance Open begins this week

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SAN DIEGO – The roar of the crowd at the Farmers Insurance Open is an annual delight, but most won’t get to hear it this year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans are allowed at Torrey Pines Golf Course this week.

“Obviously without fans, one of the biggest changes, just kind of our build, our stadium,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Century Club, which hosts the annual tournament. “Every year, we build hundreds of thousands of square feet of tenting and temporary floors and things to accommodate all the guests who come and to not have that, it looks a little bit naked out on the golf course.”

This year’s tournament only is happening with what Gorsich says are precautionary measures such as requiring everyone on the course to wear masks except for the players who will be social distancing. They also have implemented regular COVID-19 testing, according to Gorsich.

“We’ve got to plan very regular testing, regular checkups, temperature screenings throughout the day as well,” he said. “Testing’s a pretty broad topic beyond just traditional testing, so thermal screening at all the various points of ingress and egress as well.

“We’re kind of constantly monitoring where people are at.”

The Farmers Insurance Pro-Am, which had been scheduled for Monday, was canceled due to inclement weather conditions. The course also will be closed for practice rounds Tuesday until crews are able to clean up everything and ensure the surface is safe.

With rain in the forecast this week, there is a strong possibility rain could stop play throughout the tournament.

Gorsich said whatever happens, they’ll be prepared.

“As the week moves along, what it looks like is Friday, there’s some rain,” he said. “Typically we’ll play through rain like that, so nothing too dramatic and the need to adjust planning is just so different when you’re not bringing fans out on the course. You just don’t have as many variables to consider.”

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