Rory McIlroy has missed golf fans at events and said he was ready to see them back out on the course.
The Northern Irishman made his statement hours after Australian Adam Scott was forced to withdraw from the ZOZO Championship in California on Wednesday after a positive COVID-19 test.
McIlroy will not see any spectators at this week's PGA Tour event at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks but the next two events on the schedule – the Bermuda Championship and Houston Open – both plan to allow a limited number of fans.
While McIlroy views the return of spectators with cautious optimism, Phil Mickelson expressed deep concern, saying the presence of fans in Houston might keep him from playing what has traditionally been his Masters warm-up event.
"I think I'm more comfortable with it now than I was, say, back when we were going to play the Memorial in July with fans," McIlroy said.
"I think everyone was still a little sceptical about that.
"But I think right now we just know a little more about COVID and what it does, maybe not long-term wise but at least in the short term, what it maybe does to the body and what the symptoms are and treatment protocols and therapeutics."
“I think I'm more comfortable with it now than I was, say, back when we were going to play the Memorial in July with fans.” – Rory McIlroy
With most of the players on the PGA Tour being fit, healthy athletes, McIlroy noted they were in the low-risk category.
But the new father was mindful of the need to take into account others outside the demographic and communities in which they play.
In addition to 2013 Masters champion Scott, several golfers have tested positive – including World No.1 Dustin Johnson who continues to self-isolate and will miss this week's tournament – but have not suffered serious illness.
Since the PGA Tour restarted in mid-June after a COVID-forced shutdown officials have made several attempts to bring back fans but each time they aborted efforts over health and safety concerns.
With the US again seeing a spike in cases, Mickelson, who turned 50 in June, said playing in front of spectators presented an unnecessary risk with the rescheduled Masters set from November 12-15.
"I think that they will do a very good, safe job in having 2,000 people at the Houston Open," Mickelson said.
"However, for me personally, I don't like the risk of having that happen the week before the Masters."