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Rory McIlroy calls for PGA Tour 'shut down' if a player was to test positive for coronavirus

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Rory McIlroy has encouraged the PGA Tour to shut down if it is in the best interests of public safety

Rory McIlroy has encouraged the PGA Tour to shut down if it is in the best interests of public safety

Rory McIlroy has encouraged the PGA Tour to shut down if it is in the best interests of public safety

Rory McIlroy believes the PGA Tour should "shut down" if one player tests positive for the coronavirus after the Players Championship was cancelled on Thursday.

The tournament in Florida was initially to be played without spectators to try and limit the spread of the virus, however PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Thursday night that the remainder of the event would not go ahead.

Along with cancelling the Players, the PGA Tour also abandoned all tournaments up to The Masters in early April in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

That left World No.1 McIlroy unequivocal in his belief over what should happen if a player was to come back positive for Covid-19.

"We need to shut it down then," insisted the Holywood man at TPC Sawgrass.

Prior to its cancellation, the Players was the only major sporting event in the United States to take place in front of fans on Thursday after the suspension of the North American basketball, baseball and ice hockey leagues.

McIlroy is also encouraging golf's leading body to follow the example of those three sports and introduce mandatory testing for players, caddies and officials in order for the season to hopefully continue in April.

"I saw that obviously there's commercial labs now are testing at some capacity, I guess, but I think for us to keep playing on Tour, all the players and people that are involved need to get tested and make sure that no one's got it," insisted McIlroy.

"Obviously everyone knows you can have it and not have symptoms and pass it on to someone that's more susceptible to getting very ill from it.

"I watched Jay's press conference (on Thursday). He made some very, very good points, and... that's what we have to do to try to, I guess, do our bit in terms of trying to stop the spread and trying to keep everyone healthy.

"The PGA Tour are liaising with the best health officials and CDC and WHO, whoever it is that they're dealing with, and if they think that it's safe for play to go ahead but with no spectators, then I guess who am I to say any different?

"So it's scary time, and I think that the Tour have made a step in the right direction and I think we just have to play it by ear and take it day by day.

"As someone said to me yesterday, today's over-reaction could look like tomorrow's under-reaction. So just got to take it day by day and see where this thing goes."

Belfast Telegraph