Australian Open postponed because of coronavirus pandemic
For the first time since World War II, golf’s Australian Open won’t be held in a calendar year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But officials aren’t ruling out rescheduling the event early next year.
Scheduled for November at Kingston Heath, Golf Australia operations manager Simon Brookhouse remains very hopeful that the national championship, the fifth oldest in professional golf, could be played early next year.
The impact of travel restrictions on the playing field, with any potential big name drawcards unlikely to be able to play, as well as the rescheduling of the US Masters for the middle of November played a large role in the decision.
It will be the first time since World War II, the Australian Open, won last year by Matt Jones, won’t be held in a calendar year.
“These are very challenging times for all Australians and the uncertainty the global pandemic has caused makes it very difficult to be definitive in relation to future dates at this time,” Brookhouse said.
“We will continue our positive ongoing discussions with our major stakeholders which include the Victorian Government, our corporate partners, the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and other international tours about potential dates. However, it must be noted that there are many unknowns at the moment, which is problematic.”
Multiple dates were discussed as the situation in Victoria intensified.
But Brookhouse said public health considerations had been the main reason behind making the decision to postpone.
“Then, when you consider the rescheduled major championships, particularly the (US) Masters from 12-15 November, assembling the customary world-class field was also becoming increasingly difficult,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter of whether or not we could co-ordinate any international stars to visit. The uncertainty of the quarantine requirements for any players coming from outside Australia needed to be considered. These requirements would undoubtedly have an impact on our homegrown heroes before they would be able to consider playing, too,” he said.
“With all that in mind, we would like to think we could still play the Australian Open this summer and will work with the host, Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club, to find a date suitable for all.
“However it may have to be in the January-March 2021 window with so many variables still to play out.”