Summit County’s Environmental Health Director Tonia Burford had zero problem with any operational aspect of the ADGA Parke H. Thornton 2-Man Better Ball scheduled for Saturday at Turkeyfoot Lake Golf Links.
But because the word “tournament” described it, she forced a cancellation — allegedly after another golf course operator called to ask about it.
In a phone call to Burford, she readily admitted to Northeast Ohio Golf that the golf operations themselves were not of concern in her decision. The issue for her was that the recent renewal of Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton‘s Stay-at-Home order prohibits “recreational sports tournaments and sports leagues.”
When it was pointed out that the every part of the tournament portion was to be conducted virtually (all online, after the event), she responded that “it still gives the perception or impression that people might be gathering,” according to Burford. “I hear what you are saying, but we have to enforce the Governor’s order.”
So now closings aren’t made based on science, but perception.
The ADGA’s “virtual” golf tournament is absolutely no different from the “virtual” Cleveland Marathon, an event that is being widely promoted in many media outlets across the region.
Northeast Ohio Golf has already been in contact with multiple people in the Ohio Governor’s office, to obtain clarification for any golf events going forward under Acton’s recently extended order. Either way, we’ll bring you an answer in the days ahead.
But because of the threat of further legal action by the Summit County Health Department against Turkeyfoot, the ADGA event for Saturday is now cancelled.
Because the problem isn’t with playing golf this Saturday at Turkeyfoot.
The problem is semantics.