Australia axes three tournaments over Covid-19 fears
Golf's upcoming men’s and women’s Australian Open, as well as the men’s PGA Championship, will not take place in the country due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The men’s Australian Open was scheduled to be held in late November at Kingston Heath in Melbourne, with the PGA Championship due to take place in December at Royal Queensland in Brisbane.
Both tournaments were initially postponed in the hope they could be rescheduled for early 2021, around the same time the women’s Australian Open is traditionally held.
However, in a combined statement today, Golf Australia, the national governing body for the sport, the PGA of Australia, the men’s professional tour, and the Australia Ladies Professional Golf tour announced all three events will now not be held.
Gavin Kirkman, PGA of Australia chief executive, said: “It’s unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans. We have collectively spent months in exhaustive consultation with all relevant authorities and our sanctioning partners to try to find a way to stage all three events safely and at that world-class level to which we’ve all become accustomed.
“But even with multiple contingency plans, it has reached a point where decisions have to be made and this, regrettably, is the one we’ve had to take.
“We look forward to bringing all three tournaments alive again when they return as normal for summer 2021-22.”
James Sutherland, the newly-appointed chief executive of Golf Australia, added: “The events rely on significant support from players and tours around the world, so given current quarantine restrictions, we believe the field of strength of all three events would severely compromised.
“This, in turn, is unsatisfactory for spectators, broadcasters and our events’ commercial partners.”
Sutherland, who led Cricket Australia for 17 years as chief executive until late 2018, was appointed to the role last month to oversee a new era for the sport.
It will be the first time since 1945 the men’s Australian Open will not take place, the first time since 1995 the Australian PGA Championship has been cancelled and the first time since 2006 that the women’s Australian Open will not be contested.