TATA Steel PGTI 2020 resumes, Players C'ship tees off

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PANCHKULA: The TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) staged its first event since March as the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020, Presented by Panchkula Golf Club, teed off here Wednesday morning.

The TATA Steel PGTI thus resumed events after its break of about eight months forced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown. 

Five events are scheduled to be played in 2020 and the current season has been extended to 2021. PGTI will not stage the Qualifying School event for 2021. The criteria for eligibility of players to play events in 2020 will also be extended to 2021.

The Players Championship is the fourth event of the 2020-21 PGTI season and features top Indian professionals such as Rashid Khan, Udayan Mane, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Khalin Joshi, Chikkarangappa and Aadil Bedi, to name a few.

The tournament, which offers Rs 3 million in prize money, is being played across two venues – Panchkula Golf Club (in Haryana) and Chandigarh Golf Club – both situated in the Chandigarh Tricity region.

The format for the event is as follows: One half of the field are playing their first round at Panchkula while the other half are playing their first round at Chandigarh. In round two both the halves of the field will switch venues. The third and fourth rounds will only be played at Panchkula.

With the resumption of events on the PGTI, the race for berths at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also resumes as PGTI events offer valuable Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The top two Indians in the list will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics on the revised cut-off date of June 21, 2021. Rashid Khan is currently the highest-ranked Indian in the world at 252, followed by Udayan Mane at 290 while Shubhankar Sharma is third at 348.

The PGTI has formulated strict regulations and guidelines in order to take all precautions against Covid-19 and ensure a safe and healthy environment during tournaments.

Next week is the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 presented by Chandigarh Golf Club which will be played at the Chandigarh and Panchkula Golf Clubs from November 9–12. The prize purse for the event is Rs 3 million. The format for the event will be the same as mentioned for the previous event except the third and fourth rounds will only be played at Chandigarh during this week.

The month of December will witness the return of three prestigious PGTI events. The third edition of the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by TAKE will be held at the Chandigarh Golf Club from December 3–6. The event boasts a prize purse of Rs 15 million.

The 21st edition of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf will be staged at the Digboi Golf Links in Digboi from December 9–12. The tournament carries a prize money of Rs 6 million.

The Rs 15 million TATA Steel Tour Championship will be held at the Golmuri Golf Club in Jamshedpur from December 17–20.

Some (of the many) regulations and guidelines formulated by the PGTI for the smooth functioning of events during the pandemic:
Players MUST get their COVID-19 Test done 72 hours prior to their arriving at the tournament venue for their Practice Round. Only those with a Negative Test Report will be allowed and Players must bring with them the Test Report in person without which the Player cannot enter the Tournament/Venue.

Installing of the Aarogya-Setu App is being recommended for players and they are also expected to regularly update their health status on it.

Social Distancing (minimum of 6-foot distance from others) must be practiced at all times when at the tournament venue.

Masks mandatory in all areas except while playing on course and dining. This in accordance with the host club, state and MHA guidelines.

Gatherings are strictly prohibited – players will be asked to leave the tournament venue as soon as their round has been completed. No practice will be allowed after the Round.

If a player is showing any signs of illness he will be asked to stay home and must follow the health protocols as recommended by the health authorities.

No Player other than those as mentioned in the Tournament Entry List/Draw (Practice Round, Rounds 1 & 2) & also only those making the CUT (Rounds 3 & 4) will be allowed entry at the Tournament Venue.

Players can opt to carry/push their own bag. Players doing so must abide by the Rules & Regulations of the Host Club.

Starter(s) will wear Mask, Face Shield and Gloves.

Only a scorecard and hole location/local rules sheet will be distributed on the tee. They will be stapled together and given from the starter to the marker. There will be no exchange of paper between participants.

Food and Beverage offerings will be decided by each host facility.