Hero Indian Open on calendar; dates yet to be released; ET resumes in July

V Krishnaswamy

New Delhi, May 28: The Hero Indian Open, a flagship event in Indian and Asian golf, continues to stay on the European Tour’s schedule for the year 2020, though the dates will be announced later.

At a teleconference from UK, Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s Chief Executive, said, “I am in constant dialogue with Pawan Munjal, and he is committed to the Hero Indian Open, and we have a date tentatively in our schedule and when we can confirm that emphatically, we will release that as soon as possible.”

The Hero Indian Open, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, was scheduled from March 19-22, but was postponed on account of Covid-19.

Pelley also announced the dates for the resumption of the European Tour and it will first feature six events, all in the United Kingdom and as he said, at “…within a three‑hour drive of one another…”

The European Tour was suspended on March 8 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. It will now return to action initially behind closed doors in July and run through until December.

The full schedule will tentatively have 24 events and announcements in due course will include Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Pelley added that 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.

The first tournament in the ‘UK Swing’ is the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, which will be played at Close House, near Newcastle in the north east of England, from Wednesday July 22 to Saturday July 25, followed by the English Open (July 30-Aug 2) at the Marriott Forest of Arden, and the English Championship (Aug 6-9) at Marriott Hanbury Manor.

Then come The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport hosts back-to-back European Tour tournaments – the Celtic Classic (Aug 13-16) and the Wales Open (Aug 20-23). The UK Swing will conclude with the UK Championship (Aug 27-30) at The Belfry.

The details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November – including the Hero Indian Open – will be announced in due course.

However, rescheduled dates have been announced for four Rolex Series events; the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (Oct 8-11) at The Renaissance Club and the BMW PGA Championship (Oct 15-18) at Wentworth Club.

There are also new dates for the final two tournaments of the year. The Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player (December 3-6) at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (December 10-13) at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Pelley also said, “At this stage, I can’t confirm the exact prize fund levels as we continue to be in discussion with Rolex and DP World and the respective title partners in the events.  I can confirm that the Rolex Series Events will continue to be our premium category of events across all levels of the tournament including the prize fund, and will have a charitable component to them as well.”

The tournaments in the reshaped 2020 season will be governed by the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy which has been developed by Dr Andrew Murray, the European Tour’s Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with health care specialists Cignpost, who will deliver the testing procedure, and advisers in many of the 30 countries the Tour plays. This strategy will continue to evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.

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 to charities and focus on supporting communities, where the European Tour plays, reward true heroes, such as the front line workers and the many health benefits that golf offers.

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