- The 2020 Nedbank Golf Challenge has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- This is the first time in 39 years that the event in Sun City will not take place this week.
- Tournament director Ken Payet told Sport24 that he was disappointed but understands the decision.
The European Tour confirmed on Friday the cancellation of the 2020 Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
Known as the 'African major', the event will now take place in 2021 as the tournament celebrates it's 40th anniversary.
"This was a very difficult decision for us to make but it's one we are taking in the best interests of the tournament and all those involved in it. The Nedbank Golf Challenge has always been far more than just a golf tournament.," said Mike Brown, Chief Executive Nedbank Group.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge was due to run at a rescheduled date of 3-6 December with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood the defending champion.
Speaking to Sport24 on Friday, tournament director Ken Payet stated that it was impossible not to host the event due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
"We just felt that the timing wasn't right, there were too many risks and uncertainties. We felt that it would be best to cancel this year's event and hopefully we'll be in a better position in 2021," said Payet.
"It's disappointing but it's the right call under the circumstances."
The date for the 2021 Nedbank Golf Challenge has not been confirmed yet, however, Payet revealed that it'll keep the November/December time period.
"The schedule is ever-changing, it is down for November next year but it could possibly change. We're not sure how many events will be there next year but it's too early to speculate, we'll see how it goes," said Payet.
Nine-time major champion and tournament host Gary Player stated in a press released that he fully supports the decision taken by the European Tour, Nedbank and Sun International.
"I am confident that the European Tour, Nedbank and Sun International would have done all in their power to try and make sure this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge could go ahead, and that this is a decision they would not have taken lightly," said Player.
"The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a tournament we are all extremely proud of, and if postponing it for a year allows us to present an even better Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2021, then I fully support this."
Keith Pelley, European Tour Chief Executive, said: "The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a spectacular event which showcases many of the wonderful elements that South Africa brings to the world of golf. To ensure that the tournament is the best it can be for the players and all of our stakeholders, it is right that we wait until a time when we can celebrate the 40th anniversary in a fitting manner."
Meanwhile, the European Tour have added three new tournaments in Europe as part of its reshaped 2020 season with the Cyprus Open (29 October-1 November), Cyprus Classic (5-8 November) and the Scottish Open (15-18 October).
- Compiled by Lynn Butler