The Open has been eliminated for the first time since 1945 … and other majors have been restored amid coronavirus pandemic
The Open will not be held this year for the first time since 1945, after the R&A made the memorable decision to cancel the championship set for Royal St George’s in July.
However, there is still hope that the other three majors, plus the Ryder Cup, will take place after the revised dates are confirmed.
The US PGA Championship is scheduled for August 6-9, the US Open is scheduled for September 17-20 – the week before the Ryder Cup – and the Masters will be held November 12-15.
The Open Championship will no longer be organized this year for the first time since 1945
Like Wimbledon, another pillar of British sports summer has been dropped from the schedule due to the effects of the coronavirus.
The 149th Open is now taking place on the Kent course in July next year, and the 150th Open in St Andrews is set for 2022.
“We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart,” said Martin Slumbers, R&A director.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored all options for playing the Open this year, but it will not be possible.”
R&A CEO Martin Slumbers said he has “explored all options” to host the tournament
One option under consideration was postponing the date now occupied by the US Open, and that event is being moved to October. Even then, there would still be a lot of doubt about the chance of holding an Open on an appropriate scale.
Reinforced by insurance similar to Wimbledon, which covers the major costs of such cancellation, the R&A decided the risk was too high.
Tickets and hospitality packages for this year’s event will be carried over to 2021. Anyone unable to attend will receive a full refund.
“We realize this will be disappointing to many people around the world, but this pandemic is deeply affecting the UK and we need to act responsibly,” said Slumbers.
“There are many different considerations when organizing a major sports event of this size. We count on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and many other organizations and it would be unreasonable to impose additional requirements if they have much more urgent priorities. ‘
Tommy Fleetwood, second in 2019, said it was “ a sad day ” when the event was canceled
Shane Lowry’s Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, second at last year’s event, told Sky Sports: “It’s clearly a sad day, given what the Open means to so many people, including myself.”
Given that the U.S. PGA and the US Open take place in California and New York, two of the U.S. states most affected by the coronavirus, there is no guarantee that they will continue. Even Masters chairman Fred Ridley issued a warning about their November date.
“We hope that anticipating organizing the Masters in the fall will bring a moment of joy, but we would like to emphasize that our plans are based on favorable advice from health officials,” he said.
The revised schedule is bleak for the European Tour. The flagship BMW PGA Championship to be held for Wentworth from September 10-13, would be the closing event of the Ryder Cup qualification and certainly seemed to pull off a fantastic field.
But how many stars would consider that date now, with the FedEx Cup playoffs spread over three weeks in America on one side and the US Open and Ryder Cup on the other?
The Masters have also moved to the center of the three lucrative events to close out the year – complete with £ 20 million in prize money. Clearly, CEO Keith Pelley has to make some big decisions.
Podcast of the week
McKellar Golf: Interview with Padraig Harrington
In the past 30 years, European golf has been hugely blessed for having had not only great golfers, but brilliant talkers.
This year’s Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington, is a case in point, and here’s the Irishman’s enchanting form, in an interview that is the duration of a football game that mainly shows his enduring passion for the game.
The golfing instructions at the beginning are only for nerds, but then the nuggets come at a steady pace, as the interviewers, Lawrence Donegan and John Huggan, expertly guide him through his illustrious career.
There’s a typically insightful Harrington interpretation of why Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson couldn’t play together at the Ryder Cup, and why Colin Montgomerie was a world beater in Europe, but never won on the PGA Tour.
There’s also humor, because Harrington shares some colorful stories he enjoyed along the way.