Australian summer of golf abandoned

Golf officials have reluctantly cancelled the Australian PGA and Australian men's and women's Open tournaments because of COVID-19.

CAMERON SMITH
CAMERON SMITH Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Golf Australia has aborted plans to reschedule the summer's premier three events, reluctantly cancelling the Australian PGA Championship, Australian Open and Women's Australian Open.

PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman, ALPG chief executive Karen Lunn and Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said all three events, which were to have been played in February, won't proceed because of the global pandemic.

"It's unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans," 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."

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 no options were viable.

"We look forward to bringing all three tournaments alive again when they return as normal for summer 2021-22," Kirkman said.

The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship - the feature events on the PGA Tour of Australasia - were originally slated for a late November and early December window, to be played at Melbourne's Kingston Heath and Brisbane's Royal Queensland, respectively.

Both were postponed in recent months in the hope a late-summer timeslot - potentially near the Women's Australian Open - would buy time to host the time-honoured tournaments.

But 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 will be the first time since 1945, the final year of WWII, that the men's Open will not be staged, the first time since 1995 that the PGA won't happen and the first time since 2006 that the women's Open will not be contested.