European Tour

European Tour announces start date for resumption of 2020 season

European Tour (File)
European Tour (File)
  • The European Tour announced the resumption of the 2020 season after the suspension of all events on 8 March
  • The Tour starts off with a six-week 'UK Swing', which begins with the British Masters on 22 July
  • The Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City is now moved to 3-6 December

The European Tour on Thursday announced plans for the resumption of the 2020 season with the launch of a new six-week 'UK Swing'.

Following the suspension of the season on 8 March due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the European Tour will return to action initially behind closed doors in July and run through until December.

All tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy which will continue to evolve, aligned with international Government guidance and health guidelines.

The first tournament in the 'UK Swing' is the British Masters, which will be played at Close House from 22-25 July.

The UK Swing will conclude with the UK Championship at The Belfry.

Details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November will be announced in due course, with a variety of scheduling options currently under consideration as the global situation continues to evolve.

However, rescheduled dates have been announced for four Rolex Series events; the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club which now takes place from 8-11 October and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club which moves to the following week, 15-18 October.

There are also new dates for the final two tournaments of the year. The Nedbank Golf Challenge is now scheduled for 3-6 December at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, now due to take place from 10-13 December at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

All tournaments played in the reshaped 2020 season will be governed by the Tour's comprehensive Health Strategy which has been developed by Dr Andrew Murray, the European Tour's Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with health care specialists Cignpost, who will deliver the testing procedure, and advisers in many of the 30 countries the Tour plays.

This strategy will continue to evolve, aligned with international government guidance and health guidelines.

The 'Golf for Good' initiative will be launched at the new 'UK Swing' in July and August, six weeks which will culminate in £500 000 from the European Tour being distributed equally between charities local to the tournament venues and charities chosen by the leading 10 players in a mini Order of Merit which will run across the six tournaments.

Keith Pelley, European Tour chief executive, said: "Since the suspension of our 2020 season in early March, we have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance.

"We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months' time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.

"Without question we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today's announcement. As golf's global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges.

"Initially, therefore, based on the expert guidance we received, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation."

While the intention remains to crown a new Race to Dubai Champion on Sunday, 13 December, as part of the changes to the end of the 2020 season caused by the impact of Covid-19, the European Tour's Tournament Committee recently agreed that all Members' 2020 Categories, and their ranking within that category, will be retained in 2021 with related playing rights being protected to the absolute maximum possible in the 2021 season.

That decision was passed unanimously by the Committee, as was the fact that there will no longer be a 'Minimum Tournament Regulation' for the 2020 season.

Pelley added: "We recognise that when we resume playing golf, each player's circumstances will be different. We therefore do not want to put anyone in a position whereby they feel they have no choice other than to play in certain events in order to protect their livelihood.

"Similarly, the feeling was that it was not fair to disadvantage any member who might want to play in an event but who might not be able to due to ongoing travel restrictions. Therefore, in consultation with our Tournament Committee, it was agreed preserving their exempt status for 2021 was the fairest solution in these unprecedented times.

"As a consequence, there will be no Qualifying School this year and no formal graduation from the Challenge Tour, although the Tournament Committee has agreed to reward exceptional performance on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour in 2020, precise details of which we will announce in due course."

Tournament schedule thus far:

UK Swing

22-25 July - British Masters, Close House Golf Club, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

30 July-2 August - English Open, Marriott Forest of Arden, Birmingham, England

6-9 August - English Championship, Marriott Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire, England

13-16 August - Celtic Classic, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales

20-23 August - Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales

27-30 August - UK Championship, The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England

Rolex Series:

8-11 October - Scottish Open, The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland

15-18 October - BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England

3-6 December - Nedbank Golf Challenge, Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa

10-13 December - DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE

- European Tour

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