Out of Bounds: Golf calendar is falling apart - but it doesn’t really matter

Irish Open likely to join postponements but you can dust down your clubs and head out

Jon Rahm is unlikely to be able to defend his Irish Open title at Mount Juliet in May. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Jon Rahm is unlikely to be able to defend his Irish Open title at Mount Juliet in May. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Who knows where or when it will all seem normal again. The hope is that some day it will be. As far as tournament golf is concerned, the list of casualties is a ticking-off exercise that has a long way yet to run: the European Tour’s latest postponement is the Andalucian Masters in early May, while the PGA Tour added a further four - the Heritage Classic, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo and the Byron Nelson - to a list that already includes the Masters and the US PGA.

As of now, the blank diary extends on the European Tour up to the Made in Denmark event on May 21st-24th and on the PGA Tour to the Charles Schwab that same week in the United States. Both are likely to be pulled sooner rather than later, with the DDF Irish Open scheduled for Mount Juliet (the following week) next in line.

Chances are that not a single Major, men or women, will be played this year. Where once they seemed the be all and end all of the sport for elite players, now they are minor.

Tiger Woods, in a rare tweet, summed it up: “There are a lot more important things in life than a golf tournament right now. We need to be safe, smart and do what is best four ourselves, our loved ones and our community.”

That golfing community, increasingly, is a global one and, for all we know, there might not be another tournament played this year. No Olympics. No Ryder Cup. In the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

Further down the golfing ladder, the PGA EuroPro Tour - a developmental circuit - has already taken the decision to cancel its season in its entirety.

The PGA of America have insisted the Ryder Cup will go ahead at Whistling Straits in September and, if it does, that can mean only good news in that things will indeed have returned to some normality. But nobody knows, and if it doesn’t it can always be shoved back a year. It happened before, after the 2001 match at The Belfry was postponed for 12 months due to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

But this is an entirely different situation and, in fairness, it would appear the main tours are all singing off the same hymn sheet and putting safety and responsibility first.

I made a promise to myself at the start of the year to play more golf. The first time I got the chance to play a full 18 holes was on St Patrick’s morning, up bright and early to hear the birds chirping away. My golf was terrible but that didn’t matter. It seemed normal, even if it wasn’t.

The importance of golf at this time is that it is still there to be played for now and, indeed, encouraged by the health authorities as long as guidelines are followed: put your shoes on in the car park, no cash exchanging hands (you can Revolut your losses!), keep your distance and, if you want, elbow bump or simply nod when it’s all over . . . and stir clear of the 19th hole and go home in separate cars until the next time. Make it happen, and play safe.

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