MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian PGA Championship, Australian Open and Women’s Australian Open have been canceled amid continuing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman, ALPG chief executive Karen Lunn and Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland confirmed Friday that all three events, which were to have been played in February, won’t proceed.
“It’s unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans,” Kirkman said. “We have collectively spent months in exhaustive consultation with all relevant authorities and our sanctioning partners to try to find a way to stage all three events safely and at that world-class level to which we’ve all become accustomed.
“But even with multiple contingency plans, it has reached a point where decisions have to be made and this, regrettably, is the one we’ve had to take.”
Several measures were considered — including players entering a hub and competing while serving a strict quarantine period, as well as restricting crowd numbers and movement — but Kirkman said all options were unviable.
The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship were originally scheduled for a late November and early December window, to be played at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath and Brisbane’s Royal Queensland.
Both were postponed in recent months in the hope a late-summer time slot — potentially near the Women’s Australian Open – would buy time for the men’s events.
But Kirkman said the impact of COVID-19, particularly with assembling international fields and ensuring the safety of players, spectators and officials, forced the decision.
It will be the first time since 1945, the final year of World War II, that the men’s Open will not have been staged. It’s the first time since 1995 that the PGA will not be played, and the first time since 2006 that the women’s Open will not be contested.
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