The European Tour has today announced its revised schedule for the remainder of the 2020 golfing season, which includes details of a six-week 'UK Swing' along with four new dates for Rolex Series events.
The new schedule, which has been much-amended due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, will initially see tournaments taking place behind closed doors, and will be subject to 'stringent safety and testing protocols' set out in the European Tour's Health Strategy.
Details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November will be announced in due course, with a variety of scheduling options currently under consideration as the global situation continues to evolve.
Since the suspension of our 2020 season in early March, we have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance.
We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months’ time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.
Without question we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today’s announcement. As golf’s global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges.
Initially, therefore, based on the expert guidance we received, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation.
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Betfred, Close House, Marriott, The Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, The Celtic Manor Resort and The Belfry for sharing our vision for this ‘UK Swing’ and we look forward to returning to tournament play in July with this innovative stretch of six events.
As well as getting golf going again for our players, our broadcasters, our stakeholders and our millions of fans around the world, these new events will also enable us to give back during these unprecedented times, building on some of the community support already given by our players over the past few months.
I also want to pay tribute to Rolex, BMW, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government, Nedbank, Sun International and DP World, for their continued commitment to the European Tour which allowed us to move four hugely important tournaments on the European Tour into new dates later in the year.
Not only did they show flexibility, they also showed understanding of the current global situation and we are truly fortunate to have them as partners of the European Tour.
We recognise that when we resume playing golf, each player’s circumstances will be different. We therefore do not want to put anyone in a position whereby they feel they have no choice other than to play in certain events in order to protect their livelihood.
Similarly, the feeling was that it was not fair to disadvantage any member who might want to play in an event but who might not be able to due to ongoing travel restrictions. Therefore, in consultation with our Tournament Committee, it was agreed preserving their exempt status for 2021 was the fairest solution in these unprecedented times.
As a consequence, there will be no Qualifying School this year and no formal graduation from the Challenge Tour, although the Tournament Committee has agreed to reward exceptional performance on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour in 2020, precise details of which we will announce in due course.
What do you think of the new schedule? Are you looking forward to seeing more professional golf taking place in Britain this summer? Let us know your thoughts below!