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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

Go deeper

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."