British Open cancelled and new dates for other majors in virus-hit year
Golf’s British Open has been cancelled and the US Open postponed to a later date as the sport revamps the 2020 calendar, including the majors, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
There are also new dates for The Masters and the US PGA Championship, the first two majors of the year.
The British Open, the oldest of the majors, was due to take place at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent in south-east England on 16 to 19 July, but was officially called off today, with the organisers saying they had "explored every option" for holding it this year.
The Open will instead be held at the same venue in 2021, with the dates confirmed as 15 to 18 July.
This year will be the first time since 1945, the final year of World War II, that the tournament will not take place, with logistics meaning that a mere postponement was not feasible.
However, the United States Golf Association still intends to proceed with the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot in New York, albeit the event has been moved from 18 to 21 June to 17 to 20 September.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that The Masters at Augusta National in Georgia, which was scheduled for the upcoming weekend, only to be postponed last month, will now be held at the traditional venue on 12 to 15 November, while the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, which had also been postponed, has been rescheduled from mid-May to 6 to 9 August.
The PGA of America, which organises both the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, the biennial team contest between USA and Europe, when held on home soil, maintained today that the 2020 edition of the latter will still go ahead at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin on 25 to 27 September.
All of the top men’s and women’s golf tours are presently suspended as a result of the pandemic, and are in the process of revising their calendars in line with the rescheduling of the majors.
Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of The R&A, the organiser of the British Open, said of the cancellation: “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.
“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.”
Tickets for this year’s event will automatically be transferred to 2021 although full refunds are available for people who will not be able to attend.
The switch means that St Andrews in Scotland, ‘the home of golf’, will still stage the 150th edition of The Open, but in 2022 instead of next year.
The Open joins the Wimbledon tennis championships as the most high-profile UK sporting event to be totally cancelled this year.
Meanwhile, USA's PGA Tour is pushing back the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the 2020 regular season, and the three FedExCup Playoffs, by a week, meaning that the climax to the season will start in the week of 10 August and conclude with the Tour Championship, ending on 13 September.
The dates for other PGA Tour events will be announced in due course, while the European Tour is still working on various scenarios for the rescheduling of its tournaments this year.On the women’s side, the US Women’s Open has been postponed by six months.
The tournament, which was due to be staged at the Champions Golf Club in Houston in early June, has been moved to 10 to 13 December, and will become the first women’s major ever to be held in that month.
It is the third major of 2020 to be postponed, with the ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship having already been delayed. The ANA Inspiration will now take place on 10 to 13 September at the original venue of Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage in California on 10 to 13 September.
With the switch to the winter, the USGA has announced that it will use two courses simultaneously for the first two rounds of the US Women's Open.
The LPGA Tour has issued a revised schedule for the summer, with events to begin with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G on 18 to 21 June.