Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After a three-month hiatus, the PGA Tour returns Thursday for the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

The state of play: No fans will be in attendance, production crews will be limited and players will be asked to adhere to health and safety guidelines released last month.

How to watch: Golf Channel has full coverage from 4 to 7pm ET, and you can watch featured groups from 7:45a to 7pmET on PGA Tour Live.

  • Another option: Athletes, celebrities and media companies will broadcast their own live commentary on Twitter from 1 to 2:30pm ET. Got money on Rory? Tune into the Action Network's betting-centric broadcast. Fan of the women's game? Flip to the LPGA broadcast, featuring Annika Sorenstam.

Details:

  • The course: Colonial Country Club is the longest-running host of a non-major PGA Tour event played at its original site (the first tournament was held there in 1946). It's known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways and numerous doglegs.
  • The field: Stacked. 17 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Rankings will be in the field, including the top five players: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
  • Groups to watch: McIlroy, Rahm, Koepka (2:06pm ET); Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth (1:55pm ET); Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose (8:45am ET); Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Gary Woodland (8:56am ET)

The state of play: Players, caddies and essential personnel were tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and the PGA Tour said all 487 tests came back negative.

  • On the course, players will be expected to practice social distancing and "show best practices for playing golf to our fans watching the telecast."

Yes, but: In Wednesday's practice round, players and caddies exchanged clubs (players are supposed to handle the clubs themselves) and caddies frequently forgot to wipe down flagsticks and bunker rakes after use.

"I'd say for the viewing public just to give the players and caddies a little bit of leeway if they see something on TV that isn't quite right. We're having to figure it out as we go along, as well."
— McIlroy

Go deeper: Golf could set the standard for sports' coronavirus reset

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