More changes to golf’s elastic 2020 schedule have been made and even more are likely to come in the days and weeks ahead. On the heels of the Olympic Games being postponed until 2021, organizers of the Evian Championship announced Friday that the LPGA major championship will move to Aug. 6-9 from its previously scheduled dates in July.
This will place the Evian Championship the week before the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, which is currently scheduled the week before the AIG Women’s British Open. So, at least from a logistical standpoint, this move worked out well for organizers at Evian. The final round of Evian Championship previously had been scheduled on the same day as the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo games. Now, players can travel from France to Scotland with relative ease.
“This 2020 schedule shift is yet another example of (Evian Championship organizers) supporting our players and our tours during a very difficult time around the world.” – Mike Whan
“We greatly appreciate the willingness of Franck Riboud, Jacques Bungert and the team at the Evian Championship to move dates and align with our European swing. This adjustment makes for easier travel for players and assists us as we look to reschedule previously postponed events during a crowded summer and fall time frame,” said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan. “Like all our corporate partners, the team at the Evian Championship has always taken great steps to elevate the stage for our athletes. This 2020 schedule shift is yet another example of them supporting our players and our tours during a very difficult time around the world.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported Thursday night that the U.S. Open, scheduled for June 18-21, will also be postponed but will still be contested at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., as planned. While the USGA had no official comment as of Friday morning, New York has been the state most severely affected by the coronavirus, and the town of New Rochelle, which is four miles from Winged Foot, was the first in the nation to be placed on lockdown.
Should the postponement be made official, it would be the fifth major golf championship to be postponed, following the Masters and PGA Championship for the men and the ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship for the women. It would also follow a whirlwind of rumors about the USGA possibly moving the U.S. Open to another location. Pinehurst and other notable venues had been mentioned in golf circles as potential sites. But given the uncertainty regarding how long the current COVID-19 pandemic will continue, the idea of conducting qualifying events around the country for a mid-June date seemed wildly optimistic at best and insensitive to the plight of the world at worst.
As has been noted on numerous occasions, the last time the U.S. Open and Masters were cancelled was 1945, the final year of World War II. The PGA Championship has been played every year in the last century except 1943. In context, the PGA contested its championship in 1944 and 1945 during the height of Operation Overlord and a month before the bombing of Hiroshima.
Also on Friday morning, Augusta National announced that it has rescheduled the 2020 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals for April 4, 2021, and that all the 2020 qualifiers will be invited to compete next year.
While nothing has been made official, speculation has been that the Masters will be moved to October while the PGA of America has stated its hope of moving the PGA Championship, which was to be played in May at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, to a summer date.
Top photo: Stuart Franklin, Getty Images
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