Golf fans are reeling after the sport’s governing body in Australia revealed details of an “unprecedented” disaster.
Golf Australia has announced that it’s aborted plans to reschedule the summer's premier three events, reluctantly cancelling the Australian PGA Championship, Australian Open and Women's Australian Open.
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PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman, ALPG chief executive Karen Lunn and Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said all three events, which were to have been played in February, won't proceed because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
"It's unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans," Kirkman said.
"We have collectively spent months in exhaustive consultation with all relevant authorities and our sanctioning partners to try to find a way to stage all three events safely and at that world-class level to which we've all become accustomed.
"But even with multiple contingency plans, it has reached a point where decisions have to be made and this, regrettably, is the one we've had to take."
Understandably, Aussie golf fans were shocked and saddened by the bombshell development.
Australia’s biggest golf events - men’s Open, Aus PGA, women’s Open - have been cancelled. Men’s event won’t even be played in February as had been slated. First time since 1945 men’s Open won’t happen; first time since 1995 for the PGA; and first time since 2006 for women’s Open— Evin Priest (@EvinPriest) October 16, 2020
What a grand shame, man. Unfortunately says a bit about where the pro game is here in Aus that it's obviously not financially viable to make this happen in the current environment.— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) October 16, 2020
@MarkAllenGolf surely the most obvious sign of something we’ve all unfortunately known for some time now. The Aussie tour is totally cooked— Sean Crees (@CreesSean) October 15, 2020
ALL MAJOR GOLF TOURNAMENTS BANNED IN AUSTRALIA FOR 20/21 SEASON.— @Georgebakhos1 (@GeorgeBakhos1) October 16, 2020
Ironically during the peak of coronavirus this was the only outdoor sport you were allowed to play .
So, @AustralianOpen tennis likely to happen in Melbourne yet no golf next year? Surely, after accepting NRL/AFL, netball teams etc, Queensland could have happily hosted these events? Or is Australian Championship golf only open to Victoria?— StevenHocking (@12shoc) October 16, 2020
Sad to hear the summer of Australian golf is cancelled. @PGAofAustralia Would have been good for it to go ahead. Am sure plenty of local professionals would have put on a pretty good show.— Des Perkins (@perkins_des) October 16, 2020
I struggle to see how we can’t run 3 events over here when the US tour has been able to play a fairly full schedule amidst millions of COVID cases. Surely there’s a way to get people over here, have them arrive 3 weeks prior to isolate and then prepare.— Troy Howell (@USAsportblog78) October 16, 2020
BREAKING: Very sad news for a variety of reasons, but rest assured no stone was left unturned by the governing bodies of Australian golf. Thinking of everyone back home affected by this news. Here’s to a brighter 2021/22 season. https://t.co/8656i7gRES— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) October 15, 2020
Golf Australia explored range of options
A raft of measures were considered - including players entering a hub and competing while serving a strict quarantine period, as well as restricting crowd numbers and movement - but no options were viable.
"We look forward to bringing all three tournaments alive again when they return as normal for summer 2021-22," Kirkman said.
The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship - the feature events on the PGA Tour of Australasia - were originally slated for a late November and early December window, to be played at Melbourne's Kingston Heath and Brisbane's Royal Queensland, respectively.
Both were postponed in recent months in the hope a late-summer timeslot - potentially near the Women's Australian Open - would buy time to host the time-honoured tournaments.
But the impacts of COVID-19, most notably in assembling international fields and ensuring the safety of players, spectators and officials, has forced the decision.
It will be the first time since 1945, the final year of WWII, that the men's Open will not be staged, the first time since 1995 that the PGA won't happen and the first time since 2006 that the women's Open will not be contested.
with Yahoo Sport staff
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