The European Tour will work with health care specialists Cignpost to deliver rapid on-site COVID-19 screening as part of a comprehensive Health Strategy when the 2020 season resumes next week.
Following the suspension of the season on March 8, the European Tour will return to action initially behind closed doors in July – with two events in Austria, followed by a new six-week ‘UK Swing’ – and run through until December. All players, caddies and other personnel on-site will be tested using Cignpost’s rapid COVID-19 screening products and services.
All tournaments played for the remainder of the 2020 season will be governed by the Health Strategy, developed by European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Murray in consultation with Cignpost and advisers across the countries in which the Tour plays.
The tour’s medical advisory board includes virologists, public health experts, immunologists, and senior health leaders from FIFA, World Rugby and the ATP.
Professor Denis Kinane, Professor Ordainaire, Université de Genève, Faculté de Médecine, is working with Cignpost and Dr Andrew Murray to implement the Health Strategy.
As Governments across Europe begin relaxing restrictions, the European Tour will continue to implement its stringent medical health strategy including to a programme of rapid testing to provide players, caddies and staff to help mitigate risk.
The Health Strategy will deliver rapid COVID-19 testing services – consisting of a dry swab to collect oral and nasopharyngeal samples – using mobile PCR diagnostic equipment, with results available within two hours. Participants will operate within national public health guidelines, including social distancing, and following enhanced hygiene directives.
Cignpost have commissioned a number of rapid, mobile PCR testing machines from MiCo BioMed in South Korea. MiCo BioMed supplies world leading PCR equipment and diagnostic kits that quickly and accurately provide results. These mobile devices provide Cignpost and the European Tour with rapid and agile testing capabilities.
The European Tour and Cignpost have an established relationship, working together regularly to deliver health screening – including checking cholesterol and blood pressure – and general wellness for players and staff, prior to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Murray, said: “The health of players, caddies, staff, and anyone who enters the tournament environment is our absolute priority, and we need COVID-19 testing that is accurate, portable, and gives results quickly. We are delighted to work with Cignpost – not only on this best in class COVID-19 testing, which involves checking symptoms, temperature screening, and Antigen testing – but on health and wellness more widely. We have developed a strong relationship with Cignpost over many years and the comfort and confidence they give our players and staff is invaluable.”
Professor Denis Kinane on behalf of Cignpost said: “The relaxation of some regulations in some countries are welcomed but we cannot let our guard down and must remain vigilant with the testing strategy. We believe we are offering the quickest portable and most efficient testing regime available and we are very proud to play our part in ensuring that the European Tour remains a safe and enjoyable event.”
The reshaped 2020 season will begin with the Austrian Openat Diamond Country Club on July 9 -12, followed by the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal.
The action then moves to the UK for six weeks, starting with the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, at Close House, near Newcastle in the north east of England, from Wednesday July 22 to Saturday July 25. This will be followed by the English Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden, the English Championship at Marriott Hanbury Manor, the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport and the UK Championship at The Belfry.
Dates for four Rolex Series events have also been announced – the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club from October 8-11, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club on October 15-18, the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player at Gary Player Country in Sun City on December, 3-6 and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, at Jumeirah Golf Estates, on December 10-13, where the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion will be crowned.
Details of subsequent tournaments 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.
Aside from adhering to the Health Strategy, all European Tour tournaments from July until December will also be part of the Tour’s new ‘Golf for Good’ initiative, a narrative which will underpin the season and one which aims to give back in three key areas:
▪Supporting the Communities where the European Tour plays.
▪Rewarding the true heroes, such as the front line workers.
▪Promoting the many health benefits that golf offers