Golf

The Open Championship won't be played for 1st time since 1945

The Open Championship won't be played for 1st time since 1945

The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945, golf officials announced Monday as they tried to reconfigure a major championship schedule that would end with the Masters being played two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Still to be determined is when - or even if - golf can resume depending on the spread of COVID-19 that has shut down sports worldwide.

The R&A announced that the British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's in England, will be pushed back until July 15-18 in 2021, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews in 2022.

"I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year, but it is not going to be possible," R&A chief Martin Slumbers said.

The Masters, which was supposed to start Thursday, was rescheduled for Nov. 12-15. That would follow the PGA Championship on Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco and the U.S. Open - still at Winged Foot in New York - for Sept. 17-20.

"We hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport," Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said. "We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials."

Golf's major organizations have been trying to piece together a puzzle for the last three weeks and each agreed to announce their schedules at the same time in a show of collaboration. Still missing is the starting line, along with details on what could be the most hectic pace golf has ever known.

The PGA Tour has the most moving parts, and it tentatively has planned to complete its FedEx Cup season close to schedule, with the Tour Championship wrapping up the postseason run on Labor Day. It also is contemplating putting tournaments in dates that previously belonged to the U.S. Open, British Open and Olympics.

"It's a complex situation, and we want to balance the commitments to our various partners with playing opportunities for our members - while providing compelling competition to our fans," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "But all of that must be done while navigating the unprecedented global crisis that is impacting every single one of us."

The new schedule features:

- Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship.

- Aug. 13-16: End of PGA Tour regular season at Wyndham Championship.

- Aug. 20-23: Start of FedEx Cup playoffs at The Northern Trust.

- Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship, second playoff event.

- Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup.

- Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

- Sept. 25-27: Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

It was not immediately clear how the teams from Europe and the United States would be determined for the Ryder Cup, although European captain Padraig Harrington has said he would not be opposed to picking all 12 players.

For the 24 players, that means going from what long has been regarded as the toughest test in golf to what has become the most tiresome three days in golf at the Ryder Cup.

Other details still to be sorted out is U.S. Open qualifying. Like everything else, it all starts with when golf resumes. The next tournament still on the schedule is Colonial on May 21-24, though that appears unlikely.

Ridley said every player who has received invitations to play the Masters in April will stay on the list, with more details to be sorted out later. He also said the Augusta National Women's Amateur was canceled, and every player can keep their spots for next year provided they don't turn pro.

Winged Foot just north of New York City is about 5 miles away from a hot spot for the new coronavirus. Construction for the U.S. Open was stopped two weeks ago as the USGA tried to determine its best course. For now, it's to stay in New York with a September date.

The last time the U.S. Open was this late in the year was in 1913, when amateur Francis Ouimet took down Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at Brookline to put golf on the map in the United States.

The U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club and the U.S. Senior Women's Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut have been canceled.

The PGA Championship, which last year moved to May for the first time in some 70 years, returns to August at Harding Park in San Francisco.

The British Open last was canceled in 1945 because of World War II. Slumbers said those with tickets or hospitality package can use them in 2021 or get a full refund.

Meanwhile, the claret jug stays with Shane Lowry of Ireland, who won last year at Royal Portrush. He won't have possession as long as Dick Burton, who won in 1939, the year before it was canceled because of the war.

Lowry said in a video tweet he understood and supported the R&A's decision.

"You can trust me when I say the claret jug is going to be in safe hands for another year," Lowry said.

Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match to include $10M donation for COVID-19 relief efforts

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Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match to include $10M donation for COVID-19 relief efforts

HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) -- The next match involving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson involves a $10 million donation for COVID-19 relief efforts, along with plenty of bragging rights in a star-powered foursome May 24 at Medalist Golf Club.

Turner Sports announced more details Thursday for "The Match: Champions for Charity," a televised match between Woods and Peyton Manning against Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Medalist is where Woods plays when he's at home. Manning and Brady said they have played there before -- Manning running out of golf balls before reaching the 18th, Brady posting a 106.

The format will be better ball for the front nine and modified alternate shot on the back nine, meaning both players hit tee shots and they take turns from there.

It will be simulcast on May 24 at 3 p.m. EDT on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, along with pre-match coverage available on the Bleacher Report app.

WarnerMedia and the four players will collectively make a charitable donation of $10 million to benefit various relief efforts locally and nationally. Turner said the match includes a partnership with the "All In Challenge," an initiative that provides food for those in need.

Mickelson beat Woods in a playoff under the lights in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018. This time, they are bringing in two of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks to add to the entertainment.

The announcement came with a video interview by TNT's Ernie Johnson of the four players, in which Brady said he wanted Woods as a partner until Manning's father called to switch the teams.

The match will be held one week after live golf returns to television for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the PGA Tour and other tours around the world. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will play a charity match against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at Seminole Golf Club, one of Florida's most famous courses that will have a televised event for the first time.

Augusta National postpones Masters Tournament due to coronavirus

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Augusta National postpones Masters Tournament due to coronavirus

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Augusta National on Friday postponed the Masters, another massive hit to the spring sports calendar by the new coronaivirus that already is responsible for the loss of March Madness and the delay of opening day baseball.

So much for that annual rite of spring and the first week in April devoted to the brilliance of dogwoods and azaleas, and Tiger Woods chasing another green jacket.

"Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread coronavirus have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances," Masters chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement.

The Masters had been scheduled for April 9-12.

Ridley said he hoped the decision puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its two other amateur events "at some later date."

He did not indicate when the Masters could be played. The private club traditionally closes in May and does not open for its members until October.

The decision comes 12 hours after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan canceled four tournaments, starting with the final three rounds of The Players Championship and its $15 million purse.

Players already were bracing for the Masters to be canceled as they left the TPC Sawgrass on Friday morning. The virus has a grip on the sporting world, and golf's decision to cancel -- after first wanting to try to playing The Players Championship without fans -- was inevitable.

"The world is not coming to an end, but it's a little reality check," Kevin Na said. "Golf is not that big of a deal when you look around at what's going on in the world. I know Masters is being postponed. I think they're doing the right thing, and I look forward to hopefully playing the Masters later this year."

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, with the vast majority recovering in about two weeks.

The NBA and NHL has suspended its seasons indefinitely. Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season, and one of the biggest events was the NCAA basketball tournament -- March Madness -- that captivates the country for three weeks. The championship game is the Monday night before the Masters.

Colleges are canceling spring sports.

The Masters has finished in April every year since 1935 -- the first tournament was in late March -- except when it was canceled from 1943 to 1945 because of World War II.

The club also hosts the Augusta National Women's Amateur that ends on the Saturday before the Masters, and Sunday is reserved for the Drive, Chip and Putt Finals for youngsters who qualify all year throughout the country.

No other golf tournament gets better ratings than the Masters, the only major held on the same course every year. Ticket prices are among the cheapest for major sporting events -- $375 this year for a Thursday-Sunday badge -- though the club gets much of its non-broadcast revenue from its merchandise shops. It does not have an online store.

Local businesses also figure to suffer mightily, particularly hotels that often charge as much as five times the normal rate during the week of the Masters.

The next major is scheduled to be the PGA Championship in San Francisco on May 14-17, and the PGA of America already is contemplating scenarios if it's not safe to play.