Australian open bites the COVID dust
The Australian Open, PGA Championship and Women's Australian Open have moved from postponed to cancelled in a major blow for the summer of golf.
It will be the first time since 1945 a calendar year will pass without an Australian Open being played.
The Open and PGA had been postponed from their December dates to February but, along with the women's Open, which was also scheduled for February, won't go ahead because of the global pandemic.
Numerous plans were raised to stage the events but with continued border restrictions, quarantine periods and what loomed as a packed calendar of international events, a plan that worked couldn't be found.
The events were to be staged in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
"It's unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans," PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin 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."
The events could yet return to their traditional dates in November and December in 2021, with the women's Open next likely to be held in 2022.
“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.”— PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) October 15, 2020
The #AusPGA, @AusOpenGolf and @WomensAusOpen sadly won't go ahead.
🗞️ https://t.co/5wULHfnJ0Y pic.twitter.com/DGWLbyQ6Hv
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 all options were unviable.
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's the first time since 1995 that the PGA will miss; and the first time since 2006 that the women's Open will not be contested.
New Golf Australia boss James Sutherland said the decisions were taken with an incredibly heavy heart given the tournaments' history and international significance.
"On the advice of relevant domestic government authorities and, with consideration for the global nature of our fields and partners, the call was made with the health and wellbeing of the golfing community as the priority," Sutherland said.
"The events rely on significant support from players and tours around the world, so given current quarantine restrictions, we believe the field strength of all three events would be severely compromised."
Adam Scott won last year's PGA on the Gold Coast, and will have to wait an extra 12 months to defend his title.
Originally published as Australian open bites the COVID dust