PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Preparations for this year's Honda Classic are in full swing, and some fans will get the chance to watch the world's best golfers in person this year.
Tournament officials unveiled some new changes to keep fans and players safe during the event, which tees off next month.
After Michael Rieck finished a round of golf Friday, he was ready to talk about the Honda Classic.
"It means everything to this community because a lot of us who live here look for it, wait for it every year," Rieck said.
When play begins, the annual tournament in Palm Beach Gardens will be the third event in Florida with fans. The other two tournaments before them with an audience will be Bay Hill in Orlando and the Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach.
"We're going to have about 20% of our normal capacity or about 10,000 fans per day," Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth Kennerly said.
He said part of the reason they will have limited numbers is that they have set COVID-19 protocols.
"Of course, the social distancing will be in place. We will also be having masking. So, everybody on campus here at the Honda Classic will have to wear a face mask," Kennerly said.
Hand sanitizing stations will be set up, and no fans are allowed on the course during play. So, platforms are being built on 18, 17 and the 16th holes for the famous "Bear Trap."
"And even the 'Bear Trap' will be in three different zones, of which each zone will have 350 people in the zone," Kennerly said.
He said they expecting 40,000 people for the four days of competition. That figure is much different when in 2020, the Honda Classic broke the 200,000 attendance barrier for the fifth consecutive year.
Rieck said you can count on him and his friends enjoying the tournament in person.
"A bunch of my friends over here got into the lottery, and we got tickets for different days, so we're excited about it," he said.
Tickets go on sale Monday. The Pro-Am will be held Monday and Wednesday.
The tournament takes place March 15-21.