There will be no Grand Slam in 2020, and of course neither a ‘Golden Grand Slam’ (one with an Olympic gold attached to it). The Olympic Games went first and now the Open, the oldest of four Majors, as the global pandemic crisis due to Covic-19 continues to grip the world.
Two of the remaining three Majors will be held ‘after the PGA Tour season’ is over as the end of the season is signalled with the FedEx Cup final series.
And yes, the US Open and the Ryder Cup will be held back-to-back a fortnight after the Tour Championships.
If at the start of the year we thought the season was packed with all four Majors in a space of less than four months – beginning with Masters in April and ending with The Open in July – this ‘new’ re-scheduled calendar is something else – three Majors between August 6 and November 15 with the Ryder Cup thrown and FedExCup Final series thrown in between.
If the Olympic Games was a major blow, the bigger blow for the golfing fraternity was the cancellation of The Open at the Royal St. George’s in Kent. It is the first time the Open has been cancelled since the World War II.
Tiger Woods gets an extra seven months with his latest Green Jacket, but Shane Lowry gets to keep the Claret Jug for a full year extra.
The PGA Championship which moved up to become the second Major of the year only in 2019 will now becomes the first Major after being re-scheduled from May to August, while US Open moved from June to September and the Masters, traditionally, the first Major of the season, will this year be the last in November as The Open is cancelled.
The R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “We have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.”
The three majors held in thee US each year are still hoping to go ahead as is the Ryder Cup in September.
The PGA Tour’s season-ending FedExCup Play-offs are scheduled to take place on four successive weekends, with the first from 13-16 August.
A joint statement, issued by Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, the R&A and USGA said: “We remain very mindful of the obstacles ahead, and each organisation will continue to follow the guidance of the leading public health authorities, conducting competitions only if it is safe and responsible to do so.”
In the women’s game, the LPGA Tour has moved two of its five annual majors. The ANA Inspiration has been pushed back to September 10-13 at Mission Hills, California, while the US Women’s Open switches to December 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Texas.
Of the three other majors, The Evian Championship in France, switched from a July date to August 6-9, while the Women’s PGA Championship in Pennsylvania (25-28 June), and Women’s British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland (20-23 August) are still going ahead as scheduled.
It is the first time The Open has been cancelled since the 1940-45 tournaments were not played because of World War II. The 149th Open will now be played at Royal St George’s in Sandwich from 11-18 July 2021, meaning the R&A can keep the 150th Open at St Andrews in Scotland, from 10-17 July 2022.
The R&A said all tickets bought for this year’s tournament will be transferred to next year’s event, with full refunds for those people who are no longer able to attend.
In a statement on the R&A website, Slumbers added: “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.
“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.”
Ireland’s Shane Lowry, the 2019 Open Champion at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, tweeted:“Obviously I’m disappointed that I won’t get to defend the Open Championship this year but I feel the R&A have made the right decisions based on people’s health and safety. See you all in Royal St George’s in 2021.”
The Open, which started in 1860, was also previously not held from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.
The only other previous cancellation came in 1871, when no trophy was available because Tom Morris Jr was allowed to keep the Challenge Belt for winning the tournament three times in a row. The Claret Jug, the prize for the champion golfer of the year, was introduced in 1872.
Major dates for 2020
- Cancelled:The Open Championship
- 6-9 August: US PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
- 17-20 September:US Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, New York
- 25-27 September: Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Wisconsin
- 12-15 November: Masters, Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia