7 immediate takeaways from the newly revised 2020 golf schedule
This golf season has been a bit different than anyone previously imagined, but now after weeks of uncertainty, the governing bodies of the game have announced a plan moving forward.
In a joint statement, the USGA, R&A, PGA Tour, PGA of America, European Tour, LPGA Tour and the Masters announced their revised calendar of events for the remainder of 2020. Below are seven takeaways from the new 2020 golf schedule.
1. Glory’s (first) shot
In years past when it was conducted in August, the PGA Championship was known as “glory’s last shot.” In 2020, it will be glory’s first shot.
Originally on the schedule for early May, the PGA Championship has been moved to Aug. 3-9, still to be played at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. This means that for the first time, the PGA Championship will be the first major contested in a calendar year.
“With our country going through extremely difficult times, it will be an honor for all of us at the PGA of America to hopefully help turn a page in August with the PGA Championship,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said in a statement.
2. Open Championship at Royal St George’s bumped to 2021
While other major events have opted for rescheduling their tournaments to a later date, the R&A announced they are outright canceling the 2020 Open Championship. The 149th Open Championship was scheduled to be played at Royal St George’s Golf Club — about 80 miles east of London — July 12-19. This marks the first time since World War II that the oldest major championship in the sport (first played in 1860) will not be contested.
However, Royal St George’s will not be passed over in the Open Rota. Instead of proceeding to St Andrews in 2021, the future sites have been moved back one year. This is notable as it ensures that the 150th Open Championship is still played at St Andrews — the home of golf — albeit a year later than expected.
The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The 149th Open will now be played at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021 and The 150th Open at St Andrews from 10-17 July 2022. Full Statement: https://t.co/iZ3HiU7wwV pic.twitter.com/IoqiEfs8Fu— The R&A (@RandA) April 6, 2020
3. Fall Masters on the schedule, ANWA canceled
Do azaleas bloom in November? We’ll find out soon enough. The Masters has identified Nov. 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 edition of the event.
“While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the Coronavirus,” Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport.”
This is the first time since a three-year hiatus in the 1940s due to World War II that a Masters champion won’t be crowned in April. Tiger Woods’ title defense will have to wait a little longer this time around.
Unfortunately, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur is canceled for 2020. The second edition of the event was forced into cancellation because of various scheduling conflicts with other events in women’s golf. However, players who received an invitation to the 2020 championship are still invited in 2021, provided they maintain amateur status.
4. LPGA scheduled to return in late June
The LPGA Tour has targeted June 19 as the date for their return to competition with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, contested in Rogers, Ark. June 19-21.
“We are so thankful to all our partners for their flexibility and willingness to work with us during this very difficult time,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan in a statement. “This has been a truly collective effort to reschedule tournament dates and work together to provide LPGA players with as many playing opportunities as possible once it is safe for us to resume competing again.”
The LPGA also announced they have rescheduled their first two majors of the year — ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women’s Open — for the weeks of Sept. 7 and Dec. 7, respectively.
5. U.S. Open moving to late summer
After much speculation that the USGA would have to abandon their plan to play the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club because of its close proximity to pandemic hotspot New York City, they ultimately decided to postpone until Sept. 14-20.
“We are hopeful that postponing the championship will offer us the opportunity to mitigate health and safety issues while still providing us with the best opportunity to conduct the U.S. Open this year,” Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, said in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful to the membership and staff at Winged Foot for their flexibility and support. We are also grateful for the wonderful collaboration among the professional tours and other majors in working through a complicated schedule.”
The U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Senior Women’s Open were also canceled. These championships join the previously-canceled U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
6. Ryder Cup proceeding as scheduled
Much was made about how to proceed with the premier team competition in the sport this year. Would they postpone the event for one year as they did in 2001 in the wake of 9/11? Would they cancel the event altogether? In the end, the PGA of America decided to keep the event on the schedule as planned. Consider Sept. 22-27 booked.
7. FedEx Cup Playoffs bumped a week
In order to make room on the schedule for the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour regular season finale Wyndham Championship and the proceeding three playoff events have been moved one week later on the calendar. The Tour Championship will now have a Labor Day finish on Sept. 7.
The PGA Tour also announced that they will seek to reschedule regular-season tournaments for the weeks previously occupied by the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and Men’s Olympic golf competitions. There was no mention made on if the Tour still plans to resume play on May 21 at the Colonial.
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