Scottish Open put back with chance of a British Swing to save European Tour season?

The Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club at North Berwick has been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak
The Renaissance Club was set to stage the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in July – the European Tour is looking to move it back in the season. Picture by SHIRLEY PINDER

TWO more European Tour tournaments have been cancelled while the Scottish Open – part of the Rolex Series – has been postponed as a result of the continuing threat posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

The BMW International Open and the French Open will not take place in 2020 while European Tour staff are looking to move the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open from its July date to later in the season.

The BMW International Open, which has been played every year in Germany since 1989, was due to take place at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried, in Munich, from June 25-28.

The French Open – continental Europe’s oldest national open, was scheduled to take place a week later, July 2-5, at Le Golf National, near Paris, which staged the 2018 Ryder Cup.

It has been cancelled following the French government’s decision to cancel all mass public gatherings and events until mid-July.

The Scottish Open was one of eight Rolex Series events announced at the start of the 2020 season.

It was scheduled to return to The Renaissance Club, in North Berwick, from July 9-12 – but could now form part of a plan to stage several events in the UK later in the season (see below).

Keith Pelley European Tour chief executive
Keith Pelley

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “The decision to cancel the BMW International Open, which has been a cornerstone of the European Tour calendar for three decades, and the Open de France – one of our most historic national opens – was made in consultation with our long-term partner BMW and the French Golf Federation, respectively, with public health and well-being the absolute priority for all of us.

“Both Germany and France have been significantly impacted by Coronavirus, and our thoughts go out to everyone affected in both countries, as well as elsewhere around the world.

“In consultation with Aberdeen Standard Investments, VisitScotland and Rolex, we have also decided to postpone the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, which is part of our prestigious Rolex Series.

“Discussions about the possibility of rescheduling this event will continue as we look at a variety of different scenarios for our schedule for when it is safe and permitted to resume playing.

“We will only announce details of these plans when we have clarity on the global situation.”

•The latest cancellations bring the total number of events postponed in 2020 by the European Tour to nine, with five more events cancelled completely.

The Wentworth-based European Tour is working on plans for its UK events later this year

‘European Tour considers UK swing’

A LETTER sent from Pelley to Tour players earlier this week – and backed up by a Sky TV interview with Eddie Pepperell – revealed the tour are considering running up to four events in the UK over a condensed period.

They could even be played without fans, the European Tour has said – the PGA Tour announced the first four events of its resumed season will be played behind closed doors, yesterday.

The likely scenario being discussed would see the BMW PGA Championship go ahead at Wentworth, to be followed or preceded by a rearranged Betfred British Masters, which was due to be played at Newcastle’s Close House, at the end of July.

The BMW PGA it is currently scheduled to be played the week before the US Open, at Winged Foot (September 17-20), which was rearranged earlier this month by the USGA.

The Scottish Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – due to be played at St Andrews the week after the Ryder Cup (September 25-27) – could form part of a British Swing to resurrect the 2020 season.

The biggest problem is that European stars heading to the States for the US Open face being isolated for up to 14 days, which could force the European Tour into moving the BMW PGA back til after the Ryder Cup which would mean October.

Wentworth hosted the World Match Play Championship in October between 1964 and 2007 – but with a much smaller field.

The lack of daylight would affect any events the European Tour hopes to stage in October – the Alfred Dunhill Links has been a celebrity pro-am since 2001, attracting stars from sport and entertainment in the US and UK, including Hollywood actors.

It also traditionally has one of the biggest purses on the European Tour – and was easily the biggest outside the 2020 Rolex Series with €5million at stake.

Combining the Dunhill Links with a rearranged Scottish Open would make the most sense logistically, given the need to make it easy for players from all over the world to compete in any rearranged tournaments – before the climax to the Race to Dubia, due to take place in Italy, China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai in November or early December.

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