The Open Championship Cancelled For 2020
Not since the darkness of war in 1945 has the Champion Golfer of the Year not been crowned in golf's oldest major, but the R&A has now confirmed that The Open Championship in 2020 has been cancelled, setting the schedule back by 12 months.
Indeed, this is more an extended postponement than outright cancellation - much like the Olympic Games and European Championship - as the 149th Open will still go ahead at Royal St George's in Kent as planned, but in 2021.
Consequently, the 150th Championship at St Andrews will be contested in 2022, a milestone that the governing body cherishes, but it means that the Claret Jug won't have been awarded at the Home of Golf for seven years since Zach Johnson's triumph in 2015, the longest gap between Opens in the Auld Grey Toun since 1970 to 1978.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, said in a statement: “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.
“There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.
"In recent weeks we have been working closely with those organisations as well as Royal St George’s, St Andrews Links Trust and the other golf bodies to resolve the remaining external factors and have done so as soon as we possibly could. We are grateful to all of them for their assistance and co-operation throughout this process.
“Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding. At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe. We are committed to supporting our community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis.”
Last week, reporting by Golf Digest had indicated that cancellation was imminent, news that The R&A felt compelled to respond to, but that story has now been found to be correct.
The 2022 Open Championship had been set to return to Royal Liverpool, with the 2023 Championship at Royal Troon. Nothing is yet confirmed about the status of those two venues beyond the dates for 2021 and 2022.
The 149th Open will be played at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021.
The 150th Open will be played at St Andrews from 10-17 July 2022.
It's hugely disappointing for golf fans, but clarity is vital during these unprecedented times. The R&A has now provided that, with purchased tickets and hospitality for this year transferring over to 2021.
There is no doubt that the next Open will be a celebratory event for us all. What a special occasion that will be at Sandwich.
Later, new dates for The Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open were confirmed in a major day of golf news.
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