Golf’s major worldwide governing organizations released updates and scheduling changes Monday that were prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, including new dates for the Masters, the U.S. Open , and the PGA Championship, and the cancellation of the British Open.
A joint statement released by the Augusta National Golf Club, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association, Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and European Tour said all bodies have come together "to collectively put forward a calendar of events that will, we hope, serve to entertain and inspire golf fans around the world.”
The Masters, which was supposed to have led off the major championship schedule this week but was postponed on March 13, was rescheduled for Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National.
The U.S. Open was set back from its normal Father’s Day weekend dates to Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The PGA Championship will be the first 2020 major to be played, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on the weekend of Aug. 6-9, dates vacated by the postponement of the Olympics and its women’s golf competition.
As for the British Open, the R&A said Monday the championship would not be played this season. Royal St. George’s in Kent, England, the host club for this year’s event scheduled for mid-July, will fulfill that role next year. St. Andrews will stage the 150th Open Championship in 2022, one year later than scheduled.
“This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone coping with the effects of this pandemic,” the golf organizations’ joint statement said. “We remain very mindful of the obstacles ahead and each organization will continue to follow the guidance of the leading public health authorities, conducting competitions only if it is safe and responsible to do so.”
The PGA of America also announced that the Ryder Cup would be contested on its original dates, Sept. 25-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. The organization also conducts the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, an LPGA Tour major, at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, scheduled for June 25-28.
A PGA spokesperson said Monday there was no change in the status of the Women’s PGA from a March 23 statement that said officials continued “to closely follow the guidance of federal, state, and local public health authorities.”
Another local event featuring LPGA Tour players, the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview in Galloway, N.J., had been rescheduled for the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2.
The PGA Tour said its last four tournaments of 2019-20, including the three FedExCup playoff events, would be set back one week. The final day of the season-ending Tour Championship will be Labor Day, Sept. 7, eight days later than scheduled.
The PGA Tour has canceled nine tournaments, but officials said they would look at dates vacated by postponements of the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the Olympic men’s competition in the hopes of rescheduling some of those events.
The USGA also announced the cancellation of its Senior Open (June 25-28 at Newport, R.I.) and Senior Women’s Open (July 9-12 at Fairfield, Conn.) championships.
Perhaps the surprise among the rescheduled majors was the U.S. Open. Published reports said the USGA was considering moving the event from Winged Foot, with options being Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh and two courses in California, Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines.
“We are incredibly thankful to the membership and staff at Winged Foot for their flexibility and support,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “We are also grateful for the wonderful collaboration among the professional tours and other majors in working through a complicated schedule.”
What also could be considered complicated is how the qualification processes for the three U.S. majors will work. The U.S. Open usually requires two stages of qualifying plus exemptions based on world rankings and other factors, and said changes would be announced as soon as possible.
The PGA of America annually invites the top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional National Championship, its main event for club pros. But the 2020 event has been postponed with no new date announced.