2020 British Open Uncertain as Outbreak Threatens Golf Major
Posted on: April 3, 2020, 01:00h.
Last updated on: April 3, 2020, 08:30h.
Could the British Open, golf’s most prestigious tournament, be next on the list of coronavirus cancellations? According to one published report, it will be. But another states it could be moved to the week before the Ryder Cup.
Golf Digest is reporting that the oldest of the men’s major professional tournaments will not be played for the first time in 75 years. The Open, which dates back to 1860, was not held from 1940-1945 because of World War II. The tournament was also suspended from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.
The only other time the tournament wasn’t held was in 1871, when there was no trophy available to win. The next year, it resumed with the winner receiving the Claret Jug.
On Thursday, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which presents the British Open, issued a statement that said officials are working “through our options” for the tournament. Options include postponing it.
Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve,” said Martin Slumbers, the club’s chief executive. “We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players, and everyone involved, and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”
This year’s event is scheduled to start on July 16 at Royal St. George’s in Kent, England. It’s the first time the course has held the event since 2011. Next year’s event, which, for now, would be the 150th Open, is scheduled at Royal St. Andrews, the R&A’s flagship course.
Irishman Shane Lowry won last year’s Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
Golf Majors in Limbo
Other major events have been affected by COVID-19 as well. On March 13, The Masters – traditionally the first of golf’s major championships – announced the April event would be postponed. No official date has been given, but Golfweek said the tournament at Georgia’s Augusta National course could take place in November.
That would then allow the Ryder Cup to still take place from Sept. 17-20 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Golfweek also noted that the R&A could reschedule the British Open for the week prior, or the US Golf Association could take that weekend for a rescheduled US Open if the British Open is canceled.
The US Open is set for June 18-21 at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Like The Masters, the PGA Championship, scheduled for May at San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Club, has been postponed and awaits rescheduling.
The coronavirus isn’t just affecting golf’s majors, as numerous sporting leagues and events worldwide have been suspended or canceled.
On Wednesday, Britain’s other hallowed sporting event – Wimbledon – announced its cancellation. The All England Club said the ongoing public health crisis made it impossible to hold the event during the summer, a necessity to play on the club’s grass courts.
Oddsmakers Like Koepka, McIlroy to Hoist the Jug
Given the tournament’s uncertain status, not all sportsbooks are offering futures odds on The British Open right now. However, PointsBet and FanDuel are among those accepting wagers on the tournament.
At FanDuel, Rory McIlroy is the favorite at +900. Next, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Joh Rahm are all available at +1200. Tiger Woods is next at +1800.
PointsBet offers both Koepka and McIlroy at +1000. Johnson’s next at +1200. Rahm and Justin Rose are both at +1800, with Tiger lurking at +2000.