The Open Championship will not be played in 2020 but golf’s most influential organisations have devised a proposed schedule that would see three Majors, the Ryder Cup and a full FedEx Cup Playoffs series completed between August and mid-November.
Golf’s professional tours throughout the globe remain suspended as the COVID-19 crisis continues to force communities to undertake social distancing if not complete lockdown.
Last week the PGA of Australia announced the extension of the postponement of all PGA Tour of Australasia-sanctioned events from Friday 1 May until Monday 1 June and golf’s major governing bodies remain hopeful that a large portion of the decimated schedule can still be salvaged.
Announced in what would have ordinarily been Masters week, the earliest proposed event would be a PGA TOUR event commencing on June 18 with the US PGA Championship (August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park), US Open (September 17-20 at Winged Foot) and The Masters (November 12-15 at Augusta National) all slated for dates much later in the calendar than is normal.
A shortened PGA TOUR season would conclude with the Wyndham Championship from August 13 prior to the three-event FedEx Cup Playoffs but in a joint statement released on Tuesday by Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A and USGA, the proposal remains dependent on a significant reduction in the impact of COVID-19.
“This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone coping with the effects of this pandemic,” the statement read.
“We remain very mindful of the obstacles ahead, and each organisation will continue to follow the guidance of the leading public health authorities, conducting competitions only if it is safe and responsible to do so.
“In recent weeks, the global golf community has come together to collectively put forward a calendar of events that will, we hope, serve to entertain and inspire golf fans around the world.
“We are grateful to our respective partners, sponsors and players, who have allowed us to make decisions – some of them, very tough decisions – in order to move the game and the industry forward.”
The most significant casualty of golf’s condensed calendar is The Open Championship, cancelled for the first time since World War II.
The next Open will be contested at Royal St George’s – site of Greg Norman’s 1993 triumph – from 15-18 July, 2021 with the 150th Open to return to the Old Course at St Andrews in 2022.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible,” said Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A.
“There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations 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.”
For the strong Australian contingent that plies their trade on the European Tour a sense of uncertainty remains.
On Monday the European Tour announced the postponement of the Trophée Hassan II tournament in Morocco and the cancellation of the Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika, travelling throughout Europe an ongoing concern while the threat of COVID-19 remains.
“We will continue to monitor the global situation in relation to coronavirus and evaluate its impact on all our tournaments, with public health and well-being our absolute priority,” said European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley.
“Discussions regarding the possible rescheduling of all postponed tournaments will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation.”
Last Friday the LPGA released its proposed schedule for the remainder of 2020 commencing with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship from June 19 and concluding with the US Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston from December 10-13.
Although forced to cancel the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley hopes to welcome back 2013 champion Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and US Mid-Amateur champ Lukas Michel to the hallowed grounds in November.
“We want to emphasise that our future plans are incumbent upon favourable counsel and direction from health officials,” Mr Ridley said.
“Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week.”
Proposed 2020 calendar
August 6-9 – US PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
August 13-16 – Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, North Carolina
August 20-23 – THE NORTHERN TRUST, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
August 27-30 – BMW Championship, Olympia Fields CC, Olympia Fields, Illinois
September 4-7 – TOUR Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
September 17-20 – US Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York
September 24-27 – Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
November 12-15 – The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
TO BE CONFIRMED
June 18-21 (formerly US Open week) – potential PGA TOUR event
July 16-19 (formerly The Open Championship week) – potential PGA TOUR event
July 30-August 2 (formerly Men’s Olympic Competition week) – potential PGA TOUR event
July 13-19, The Open Championship, Royal St George’s GC, Sandwich, Kent, England