The Latin America branch of the PGA Tour has altered its schedule in the wake of the Zika virus outbreak in South and Central America.
A memo sent out by the PGA Tour Latinoamerica confirmed the Tour has pushed back two events (the Guatemala Open and the Honduras Open) farther into the spring, in an effort to take advantage of drier climates and combative medical measures to fight the spread of the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mosquito-born virus – its symptoms including fever, rash, conjuctivitus and joint pain – has led to “Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.”
Infectious disease experts say the virus has already infected approximately 1.5 million people in Brazil, the host country of the 2016 Olympics, where golf will make its return to Olympic play. PGA Tour Executive Vice President of Communications Ty Votaw told GOLF.com that the International Olympic Committee and the International Golf Federation are looking at ways to ensure the athletes competing in the Olympics are looked after.
It appears the PGA Tour is taking similar precautions by shifting events in countries affected by the outbreak, including Guatemala and Honduras, but will forge ahead with the Latin Tour’s next events in Colombia (Feb. 25-28) and Panama (March 17-20).
Votaw told the Golf Channel that the Guatemala and Honduras events were the first two Tour officials “felt necessary to make a change.”
The PGA Tour will visit Puerto Rico at the end of March. The Guatemala Open will now be played April 25–May 1, and the Honduras Open from May 2-8.