British Open postponement edges closer with new 2020 date looming

An announcement on golf’s oldest major could be made following talks next week

 St George’s golf club will host the 2020 Open Championship. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

St George’s golf club will host the 2020 Open Championship. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

 

The R&A is understood to be edging closer to a postponement of the British Open Championship, amid a growing realisation golf’s oldest major cannot be held in July at St George’s. An announcement could be made following talks next week, with the British Open’s organisers hopeful of rescheduling the tournament for later in the year as a backup plan.

With the Masters, US PGA Championship and the US Open already postponed, the British Open is the only men’s major left in its designated spot. According to reports in the US on Thursday, the US Open, due to start on June 18th at Winged Foot in New York has now also been postponed.

With more than 200,000 spectators due to attend the British Open, which runs from July 16-19th, there is a rising sense the coronavirus pandemic won’t have settled sufficiently for the tournament to be staged in satisfactory form for players or fans. The competition clearly falls under “mass gathering” criteria, with issues relating to international travel also pertinent.

The R&A’s contingency has been the topic for deep discussion at high levels in recent days. Weather and light restrictions would theoretically leave September as the last month in which the tournament can be played. This year is the 149th playing of the British Open, with the 150th scheduled for the home of golf, St Andrews, next July. With that in mind, the organisers are anxious to hold their major this year. Any extended schedule delays could impact on future competitions in Liverpool and Troon, which have already been confirmed as venues for 2022 and 2023.

The R&A pointed towards their statement of last Thursday when asked for an update. In it, the chief executive, Martin Slumbers, said: “Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of players, fans, officials, staff and all involved in our championships and that will be at the forefront of our thinking as we monitor developments.”

It was announced on Friday that the Evian Championship, another women’s major, has been rescheduled for August 6-9th from July 23rd to 26th. The August window was originally intended for the women’s Olympic golf tournament, before the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed. It is thought the PGA of America also hopes to play the US PGA Championship, originally set for May, to August 6th at Harding Park in San Francisco.

The former US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love and his wife escaped without injury after their home in Georgia was burnt down early on Friday morning. “While everyone in our family is saddened at the loss of our home that was filled with so much laughter and incredible memories, we’re very blessed that everyone is safe and unharmed,” said Love.

- Guardian

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