If the outbreak of COVID-19 is stymied this summer, golf fans are going to have quite an entertaining autumn.
Monday saw some of the PGA’s most high-profile competitions moved or canceled as the sporting world continues to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews dropped the first bombshell on Monday morning, announcing that the 2020 Open Championship would be canceled this year.
“We care deeply about this historic championship and it is with a heavy heart that we have canceled The Open for the first time since World War II,” the R&A released in a statement. “This will be disappointing for a great many people but this pandemic is severely affecting the UK and we have to act responsibly to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved. It is the right thing to do.”
Also known as the British Open, the golfing major was scheduled to be held from July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent, England.
The 149th edition of the tournament — which began play in 1860 — will now be played from July 11-18, 2021.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible,” Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A said. “There are many different considerations that go into organizing a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organizations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.”
Shortly after The R&A’s announcement, The Masters — originally scheduled for April 9-12 in Augusta, Georgia — announced that it is targeting Nov. 9-15 as a possible date to hold the competition.
“We remain very mindful of the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges presented by the Coronavirus around the world,” Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, said. “As such, we continue to keep in close contact with local, state and national health authorities to help inform our decisions.”
The United States Golf Association also announced that the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York has been rescheduled to Sept. 17-20. The competition usually takes place in mid-June.
“We are hopeful that postponing the championship will offer us the opportunity to mitigate health and safety issues while still providing us with the best opportunity to conduct the U.S. Open this year,” Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, said.