March 13, 2020- by Steven E. Greer, MD
Holy cow. The PGA Tour cancelled the Players Championship due to fears over the coronavirus. Future tournament are also cancelled.
This is nonsense. The PGA was clearly influenced by the NHL and NBA leagues that also shut down play.
The PGA could have just cancelled the live gallery and let the golfers play on TV. Players are not forced to play. If they want to hide from a non-threat, then let them. It is much like the past Olympics. Those players had a FAR more dangerous Zika virus to contend with and they still played.
I can understand the NHL and NBA closing. Fans in arenas are necessary for the integrity of those games. But golf needs no gallery.
This decision will now add to the national panic. They are contributing to an unnecessary hit to the economy.
I just came back from New York where I spoke on TV about all of this. I was not afraid of flying into the danger zone.
The PGA Tour does not seem to be managed very well. It lacks the guts to address slow play and steroids, then follows the sheep with this decision. Leadership is weak.
In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, newly-elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously stated in his inaugural address, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”
Those were not platitudes that FDR uttered. During an economic slow down like the Great Depression, perception becomes reality. If people think that the economy will remain bad, then they will not hire employees, etc. His famous line is apropos to the coronavirus. With pandemics, the fear of contracting a disease causes rash actions that lead to unnecessary food shortages, etc.
We are seeing now how irrational fear triggers others steps that lead to more fear. The PGA Tour should be ashamed of itself for contributing to this national panic that will cost jobs. The coronavirus is not a super-deadly virus. The rash actions by city and state governments, as well as sports leagues, are unwarranted and harmful.