R&A push on with plans for big six championships – IF amateur golf gets green light

2019 Amateur Championship James Sugrue – the R&A revised 2020 championships schedule will go ahead if COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in time
Last year’s Amateur Championship winner James Sugrue. The R&A will hold the 2020 event at Royal Birkdale in August if COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed by then. Picture by R&A

THE R&A has published a rearranged schedule for its 2020 amateur championships – but all of its international matches between Europe and Great Britain and Ireland, and the Home Internationals have been cancelled.

The R&A’s two biggest junior events – the Boys’ and Girls’ Amateur Championships – will go ahead as planned in August, while three of its biggest adult competitions have been moved from earlier in the summer to late August

The R&A Seniors Championship – which traditionally attracts a strong entry from the USA and Europe has been put back to late September from its traditional slot in late July.

With the exception of the Curtis Cup clash between the USA and Great Britain and Ireland’s elite women amateurs – which has been postponed until 2021 – all other international matches scheduled in 2020 have been cancelled.

All six major championships will be played at their original venues – and are dependent on the COVID-19 situation, the R&A stressed.

The full list is as follows:–

  • The R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship Southport & Ainsdale, Lancs, will be played from August 11-15 as scheduled
  • The R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship at Moortown and Alwoodley, Yorks, will be played from August 11-16 as scheduled
  • The R&A Women’s Senior Amateur Championship at Ashridge, Herts, will be played from August 19-21 as scheduled
  • The Women’s Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) has been rescheduled from June 23-27 to August 25-29
  • The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire has been rescheduled from June 15-20 to August 25-30
  • The R&A Senior Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, Deal, has been rescheduled from July 29-31 to September 23-25

The revised schedule for the championships will only go ahead if the restrictions introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic allow.

An R&A spokesman said: “We will continue to follow the guidance from the UK Government, health authorities and our own medical consultants.”

The R&A Junior Open, which was due to be played from 13-15 July at Kent’s Littlestone GC, from July 13-15 – in the build up to the 149th Open at Royal St George’s – has been cancelled along with The Open Championship at nearby Sandwich (July 16-19).

The following amateur international matches have all been cancelled:–

  • St Andrews Trophy – GB&I v Europe – Royal Porthcawl (July 23-24)
  • R&A Boys’ Home Internationals, Killarney (Aug 4-6)
  • R&A Women’s and Girls’ Home Internationals, Royal St David’s (Aug 5&7)
  • Junior Vagliano Trophy and Jacques Leglise Trophy – GB&I v Europe – Blairgowrie (Lansdowne), Aug 28-29
  • R&A Men’s and Women’s Senior Home Internationals West Kilbride, (Sept 29-Oct 1)

St Andrews Trophy has produced 26 Ryder Cup since first GB&I v Europe match at Wentworth in 1956

The 2018 Continental Europe team that won the St Andrews Trophy beating Great Britain and Ireland at Linna Golf, in Finland
The winning Continent of Europe team that won the St Andrews Trophy at Finland’s Linna Golf in 2018. Picture by JAN KRUGER R&A / GETTY IMAGES

THE biennial St Andrews Trophy – jointly arranged with the European Golf Association – between the GB&I men’s team and Continental Europe was called off last month.

The match has seen many GB&I players go on to feature in the Walker Cup against the USA. It was due to be played at Royal Porthcawl, from July 23-24.

And 26 members from both St Andrews’ teams have featured in Ryder Cups over the past 60 years.

That list includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinairi and his brother Edoardo, Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal, Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomery, Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer, Sandy Lyle and Thomas Bjørn.

It dates back to 1956 and GB&I won 19 of the first 22 matches. Since 2000, GB&I have won the match six times with Europe claiming three of the last matches.

The first match was played at Wentworth’s West Course with Gerald Micklem captaining the GB&I team.

The current Walker Cup captain has traditionally led the GB&I team as part of their preparations to play against the USA the following year.

In 2018, Finland’s Sami Valimaki, who won the Oman Open in February, was on the winning Continental Europe team

The first tie in the event’s history – at Prince’s in 2016 – saw GB&I retain the trophy. GB&I now lead 25-6 overall.

The 2022 St Andrews Trophy is set to be played at Penati, in Slovakia.

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