'Terribly disappointing': Bombshell call rocks Australian golf

·3-min read
Pictured here, previous winners of the women's and men's Australian Open golf tournaments.
Golf Australia has made the difficult decision to cancel both the men's and women's Australian Open events. Pic: Getty

Officials say they were left with no choice but to cancel two major events on the national sporting calendar, with the global pandemic wreaking havoc on Australian golf for the second year running.

Golf Australia on Thursday announced that both the 2021 Australian Open and the 2022 Women's Australian Open have been cancelled because of the difficulties brought about by Covid-19.

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It's the second straight year Australia's flagship golf tournaments have been called off due to the global crisis.

This year's edition of the men's tournament - which has been won by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Peter Thomson and Greg Norman - was first scheduled for November 25-28 at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, then postponed until early in 2022.

The Women's Australian Open was set for Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide in February, 2022.

However, Golf Australia says recent spikes in the number of Covid-19 cases, coupled with challenges around quarantine and travel restrictions, forced them to make the difficult call.

"The decision has not been made lightly but we believe it to be the right outcome under the current circumstances," Golf Australia chief James Sutherland said.

"The international element means shifting quarantine and travel restrictions wreak havoc on planning and, with our marquee players living abroad, the challenge is even greater.

"The pressure and risk on host venues and organisers is also high - these are small businesses who have already faced huge disruption due to the pandemic."

Golf Australia general manager for events and operations Therese Magdulski said it became increasingly apparent as the tournament dates loomed that it would not be possible to run them because of the restrictions in place.

Seen here, Matt Jones poses with the trophy after winning the men's Australian Open golf tournament in 2019.
Local star Matt Jones won the last men's Australian Open golf tournament that was staged in 2019. Pic: Getty

Golf Australia makes 'incredibly hard' call

Magdulski added that public health concerns and continued uncertainty over travel also played their part as the virus continues to flare around Australia.

"When we decided back in June that we'd try to get these tournaments to run again, we weren't even dealing with the Delta variant," she said.

"Everything's changed since then, and it can change again.

"In the end, these are incredibly hard decisions and it's terribly disappointing for everyone in the industry, but we've tried hard to make it happen, and it has not come together as we'd like."

The Australian PGA Championship now headlines the Australasia Tour schedule.

It will be played at Royal Queensland from January 13-16.

The summer schedule includes the PGA Championship, three Webex Players Series events and a range of State PGA Championships and State Opens.

"While it's disappointing to lose these tournaments for the second year in a row, we'll continue to work together to deliver an exciting schedule of local tournaments across the summer," Sutherland said.

with AAP

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