The European Tour Returns With Six Event UK Swing
THE European Tour has announced its new schedule for the rest of 2020, and it will kick off with the British Masters, the first of six consecutive tournaments staged in the UK.
Lee Westwood will host the Betfred British Masters for the second time at Close House, with the event starting on Wednesday, July 22 and heralding the resumption of competition in Europe via a new "UK Swing" with all tournaments initially being held without spectators. The English Open returns for the first time in 18 years at the Forest of Arden, where Darren Clarke won twice in three years before the tournament was axed.
The English Open starts on July 30 and is followed by the English Championship at Hanbury Manor. The action then moves to Celtic Manor in Wales, with two of the championship courses being used for back-to-back events at the 2010 Ryder Cup venue - the Celtic Classic followed by the return of the Wales Open after a six-year absence. And the UK Swing concludes in the final week of August with the inaugural UK Championship at The Belfry, the iconic Ryder Cup venue returning to the European Tour spotlight.
The Tour has yet to confirm the line-up for September, although chief executive Keith Pelley did confirm there are likely to be 24 tournaments in total between July and the end of 2020. The rescheduled U.S. Open is set for September 17–20.
UK Swing Schedule
Jul 22-25 - Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, Close House Golf Club, Newcastle upon Tyne
July 30- Aug 2 - English Open, Marriott Forest of Arden, Birmingham
Aug 6-9 - English Championship, Marriott Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire
Aug 13-16 - Celtic Classic, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport
Aug 20-23 - Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport
Aug 27-30 - UK Championship, The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield
The Rolex Series will also resume with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, which moves from July to the second week in October at the Renaissance Club, where Bernd Wiesberger clinched victory in a play-off last year.
The pros then head to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship, which is now being played five weeks later than scheduled having originally been slated as the final qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team.
The extended season will conclude around a month later than planned at the DP World Tour Championship, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge also being held in December, having previously clashed with the rescheduled Masters Tournament in November.
Rolex Series Schedule
Oct 8-11 - Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland
Oct 15-18 - BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England
Dec 3-6 - Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa
Dec 10-13 - DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE
A European Tour statement read: "Following the suspension of the season on March 8 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the European Tour will return to action initially behind closed doors in July and run through until December.
"All tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour's comprehensive Health Strategy which will continue to evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.
"Details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November will be announced in due course, with a variety of scheduling options currently under consideration as the global situation continues to evolve."
Pelley added: “Since the suspension of our 2020 season in early March, we have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance.
“We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months’ time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.
“Without question we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today’s announcement. As golf’s global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges.
“Initially, therefore, based on the expert guidance we received, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation.
“I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Betfred, Close House, Marriott, The Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, The Celtic Manor Resort and The Belfry for sharing our vision for this ‘UK Swing’ and we look forward to returning to tournament play in July with this innovative stretch of six events.
“As well as getting golf going again for our players, our broadcasters, our stakeholders and our millions of fans around the world, these new events will also enable us to give back during these unprecedented times, building on some of the community support already given by our players over the past few months.
“I also want to pay tribute to Rolex, BMW, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government, Nedbank, Sun International and DP World, for their continued commitment to the European Tour which allowed us to move four hugely important tournaments on the European Tour into new dates later in the year.
“Not only did they show flexibility, they also showed understanding of the current global situation and we are truly fortunate to have them as partners of the European Tour.”
The Tour has also launched a "Golf for Good" initiative, in which £500,000 will be handed out to various charities local to each venue, as chosen by the top 10 money winners during the UK Swing.
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