Citing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and concerns related to contestants’ travel, the regional amateur association that annually conducts 15 championships made the “difficult decision” to “put safety first and not take any chances.” The decision was especially disappointing to The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, Idaho, which was looking forward to showcasing its new clubhouse while hosting the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championship July 6-11.
Citing the recent spike in cases surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about contestants traveling from all parts of the Pacific Northwest and throughout the U.S. to compete, the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) announced that it had made the ”difficult decision” to cancel the remainder of its 2020 championship season, effective immediately.
The PNGA Executive Committee held a special meeting on Friday, June 26 to discuss the spike in cases and the concerns and risks of contestants traveling from across state borders, staying in local hotels, going to local restaurants and bars, grocery stores, and other venues. After discussing those concerns, the Committee felt it necessary “to put safety first and not take any chances,” so it was decided to cancel the season, starting with the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championship which was scheduled to be held July 6-11 at The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The decision was especially disappointing to that club, which was looking forward to showcasing its new clubhouse while hosting that event (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/the-idaho-club-unveils-new-clubhouse/).
Unlike local, state and provincial golf associations, the PNGA is a regional amateur golf association that attracts top amateurs from around the Pacific Northwest, which includes British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Additionally, special invitations are extended to other players across the country and around the world.
Traditionally, the PNGA annually conducts 15 major, regional, amateur championships for men, women, juniors, and seniors throughout the Northwest.
“This decision was reached after lengthy discussions, and was made with the well-being of our staff, volunteers and contestants at the forefront of our concern,” said PNGA President Peter Fibiger. “The very recent dramatic rise in confirmed cases of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country has forced us to take this late but immediate action.
“Conducting championships is a critical component of our Association’s mandate, and their cancellation is something we had never thought would require consideration until the dramatic change in the rates of infection now being seen,” Fibiger added. “This decision weighs heavily on each member of our Executive Committee, but our priority must be to protect the integrity of our organization by acting in what we see as the most responsible manner possible.”
In May of this year, with the Canada-U.S. border being closed to non-essential travel, the PNGA was forced to cancel the PNGA Cup Matches, which were to be held in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Then in early June the Association cancelled the PNGA Senior and Super Senior Men’s Amateur, and PNGA Senior and Super Senior Women’s Amateur championships, due to local Governor directives which made it impossible to conduct a championship.
As July approached and COVID-19 cases seemed to be dropping, as well as states and provinces progressing through phases of reopening, the PNGA felt confident the rest of the championship season could be successfully and safely conducted.
“Up until just this week, we were confident that we would be able to conduct championships in a safe and responsible manner with our COVID-19 Procedures and Policies in effect,” said Scotty Crouthamel, PNGA Senior Director of Rules and Competition. “However, with the recent rise in cases in the local and surrounding areas as well as around the country, the safety and well-being of our participants, volunteers, club staff and communities is at risk.”
The PNGA, founded in 1899, is a 501(c) (3) charitable international, amateur golf association dedicated to preserving the true spirit of golf by supporting its allied associations, conducting quality championships, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest.