Like all sports, golf is currently getting to grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic with postponements and cancellations having hit across the board.

Below, a look in detail at the impact.

What has definitely been cancelled?

The Players Championship has been the biggest event cancelled to
date, a decision taken after the first round had been completed.
Organisers had originally planned to stage the last three rounds behind
closed doors at Sawgrass but were forced into a rethink by the rapidly
developing situation. Seven of the following eight regular events on the
PGA Tour have also been cancelled, while two regular European Tour
events have been scrapped too.

Which events have been postponed and until when?

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed and rescheduled for 23 July – 8 August, 2021, meaning likely dates of 29 July – 1 August for the
men’s golf competition and 4-7 August for the women’s.

Two of the season’s majors, the Masters and PGA Championship, have
been postponed and not yet rescheduled. An early October date for the
Masters has been rumoured, while PGA of America officials hope to stage
the PGA at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco “at a date this summer”.
The first women’s major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, which had
been scheduled for 2-5 April at Mission Hills Country Club in
California, will take place at the same venue from 10-13 September.

Seven regular European Tour events have been postponed and not yet
rescheduled. The postponement of the Irish Open means the Trophee Hassan
II in Morocco from 4-7 June is the next possible event on the schedule.

What is likely to go soon?

The US Open is due to take place at Winged Foot from 18-21 June, but
the course is just five miles away from the coronavirus containment zone
set up in New Rochelle, New York and governor Andrew Cuomo ordered
non-essential businesses to close from Sunday evening, putting a stop to
preparations. A decision on staging the tournament is expected soon.

Is anything likely to remain on in 2020 (on current advice)?

The R&A said last week it is proceeding as planned to stage The
Open at Royal St George’s from 16-19 July and the Women’s British
Open at Royal Troon from 20-23 August, but was undertaking a
“comprehensive evaluation” of its plans and considering contingency
options.

Officials were quick to describe a report that the Ryder Cup would be
postponed by a year as “inaccurate” and time is at least on their side
given that the biennial contest is scheduled for 25-27 September.

More individual events are likely to be postponed or cancelled, but
the golfing calendar effectively runs year-round so tournaments will be
in place when the go-ahead is given to resume.

Where does the sport go from here?

One of the options reportedly under consideration by the European
Tour would be to squeeze three tournaments into a two-week period, with
an event played from Monday to Thursday followed by a day’s break,
another running Saturday to Tuesday followed by a day’s break and then a
third from Thursday to Sunday.

The possible October date for the Masters would clash with the
Italian Open, one of the European Tour’s prestigious Rolex Series
events, but although that would severely weaken the field for the
£5.9 million tournament, it would likely go ahead and offer a valuable
playing opportunity for lower-ranked players who would otherwise have
missed out.

The LPGA has more open weeks than other tours and has been able to
reschedule the ANA Inspiration by moving the tournament originally
scheduled for its new date to the following week. It has also been
suggested that two postponed LPGA tournaments could be combined into
one, thereby creating a doubled prize fund.

The postponement of the Olympics opens up a week on the PGA Tour
schedule, possibly for a major, but the European Tour has scheduled the
British Masters for the same week as the men’s competition would have
been held in Tokyo.

The Evian Championship, one of five majors in the women’s game, has
moved from 23-26 July into the week vacated by the postponement of the
Olympics and will take place from 6-9 August.

– TEAMtalk media



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