After reports that the British Open at Royal St. George’s would be canceled, the R&A denied any decision regarding the major championship has been made.
“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement,” Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said in a statement Thursday morning. “Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can.
“We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”
Slumbers’ statement follows a Golf Digest report that said the R&A was expected to cancel the Open as early as Thursday, according to unnamed people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The report said the tournament would be canceled rather than postponed due to insurance reasons, citing an unnamed person who indicated to Golf Digest the tournament would need to be canceled by a certain date to collect on the premium.
Earlier this week, the All England Club canceled Wimbledon due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK and the major logistical hurdles of setting up the Grand Slam later in the summer. Wimbledon, which was scheduled to begin June 29, had previously only been interrupted during times of war. The tournament paused between 1940 and 1945 due to World War II.
The British Open is scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent. Royal St. George’s last held the Open Championship in 2011, when Darren Clarke overcame Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson to win by three strokes. It marked the 14th time the club had hosted the Open.
The global pandemic has forced golf’s leaders to make contingency plans for the major championships that were scheduled to begin with next week’s Masters. Augusta National Golf Club announced March 13 that the Masters would be postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns. Less than a week later, the PGA of America postponed the PGA Championship, scheduled for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Last week the USGA said it’s working on how to proceed with its calendar regarding the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, scheduled for June 18-21. Two people with direct knowledge of ongoing discussions about tournament preparations told the Westchester Journal News that it appeared likely the U.S. Open would be pushed back to August or September. Construction on the course had been halted.
Read more at usatoday.com