By: Ron Mintz
April and Augusta, two names synonymous in golf. Unfortunately, this year that is not the case.
With the COVID-19 virus basically closing every sporting event in the world, the membership of Augusta National had two options. Cancel the Masters for the first time since 1945 in WWII, or postpone it later in the year.
Thankfully for hundreds of thousand golf fans, they chose to postpone the 2020 Masters till the fall, and it will be played November 9-15.
Statement from Chairman Ridley:
"We have identified Nov 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters. We hope the anticipation of staging the Tournament brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and those who love the game."
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 6, 2020
The Masters is not alone. All four golf majors were forced to make difficult decisions. All tours also had to decide the fate of regularly scheduled events.
Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A, and USGA had been working together for weeks in an effort to salvage as much as possible of the 2020 season, and most importantly the majors. They issued this joint statement:
“This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone coping with the effects of this pandemic. We remain very mindful of the obstacles ahead, and each organization will continue to follow the guidance of the leading public health authorities, conducting competitions only if it is safe and responsible to do so.
“In recent weeks, the global golf community has come together to collectively put forward a calendar of events that will, we hope, serve to entertain and inspire golf fans around the world. We are grateful to our respective partners, sponsors and players, who have allowed us to make decisions – some of them, very tough decisions – in order to move the game and the industry forward.
“We want to reiterate that Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, The R&A, and USGA collectively value the health and well-being of everyone, within the game of golf and beyond, above all else. We encourage everyone to follow all responsible precautions and make an effort to remain healthy and safe.”
At the end of countless hours, the revised schedule had to wait on a decision by the R&A on whether the 2020 Open Championship would be postponed or canceled. The Open was the only major tournament that was fully insured against a possible pandemic.
The Open was scheduled originally to be played in Kent, England, from July 12-19. The deadline to postpone set forth by the insurance company was approaching. In an effort to put public safety first, the R&A relying on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services, and The R&A’s advisers decided to cancel the 2020 Open Championship. The Championship will next be played at Royal St. George’s in 2021.
R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers issued the following statement:
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.
Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers, and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.”
One of four majors canceled, leaving the PGA Championship, US Open, and the Masters left to find realistic new dates in 2020 to hold the three majors.
With the Open’s decision now determined the governing bodies could finalize the revised schedule, with priority on the remaining majors.
The USGA announced that the 2020 US Open, previously scheduled for June 15-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, has been officially rescheduled for September 14-20 and is confirmed to remain at Winged Foot.
The PGA of America announced that the PGA Championship is scheduled for August 3-9 and will remain at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. It was originally slated for May 11-17 but was postponed on March 17.
Now we have the three majors to be played in 2020, teeing off in August, September, and November.
Temperatures, precipitation, and conditions for all three events are almost identical to their original dates.
The main issue at hand now for the majors is the amount of daylight for each event, in particular the Masters.
Augusta National will have approximately two hours less daylight in November than they had in April. This will probably result in split tees, something that has happened at the Masters only once since 1945. Last year in 2019, Sunday’s final round was played with split tees due to inclement weather forecasted.
The last completed event was the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
The following week The Players Championship was started on March 12th. At the completion of the first round, the PGA Tour made a decision to cancel the remaining three rounds, and all events following till the Charles Schwab at Colonial CC on May-21-24.
The following events have already been canceled for 2020.
Tournaments that have been canceled on PGA Tour.
WGC-Dell Match Play
Valero Texas Open
AT&T Byron Nelson
As of April 8th, 2020 the revised schedule is as follows.
MAY 21-24 Charles Schwab- Colonial CC-Fort Worth TX
MAY 28 – 31 Rocket Mortgage Classic-Detroit Golf Club, Detroit
JUN 4 – 7 -The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide-Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, OH
JUN 11 – 14- RBC Canadian Open-St. George’s G&CC, Toronto, ON, CAN
JUN 18 – 21 -Potential PGA TOUR Tournament
JUN 25 – 28- Travelers Championship-TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, CT
JUL 2 – 5 -Barracuda Championship-Tahoe Mt. Club (Old Greenwood), Truckee, CA
JUL 2 – 5 -World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational-TPC Southwind, Memphis, TN
JUL 9 – 12 -John Deere Classic-TPC Deere Run, Silvis, IL
JUL 16 – 19-Barbasol Championship-Keene Trace Golf Club, Nicholasville, KY
JUL 16 – 19-Potential PGA TOUR Tournament
JUL 23 – 26 -3M Open-TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, MN
JUL 30 – AUG 2 -Potential PGA TOUR Tournament
AUG 6-9 -PGA Championship-TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, CA
AUG 13 – 16-Wyndham Championship-Sedgefield CC, Greensboro, NC
AUG 20 – 23-THE NORTHERN TRUST-TPC Boston, Norton, MA
AUG 27 – 30-BMW Championship-Olympia Fields CC (North), Olympia Fields, IL
SEPT 3 – 7 -TOUR Championship-East Lake GC-Atlanta GA
SEPT 17 – 20-U.S. Open-Winged Foot GC, Mamaroneck, NY
SEPT 25 – 27-Ryder Cup-Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Nov 4-8-Houston Open-Memorial Park-Houston, TX
Nov 12-15-The Masters-Augusta National-Augusta GA
Ron Mintz @MintzGolf