Hours after Wimbledon announced on Wednesday that it was canceling this year’s tournament because of the severity of the coronavirus crisis, the British Open has reportedly followed suit.
As coronavirus strengthened its grip on the globe, the Masters and PGA Championship became the first two golf major championships to postpone their scheduled dates, slated for April and May, respectively, with plans to reschedule in late summer or fall.
Then last week, The Post reported that USGA officials have informed Winged Foot that it planned to suspend the U.S. Open, which was scheduled for June, to a possible September date to be named later.
That left the final move to the British Open, which was scheduled to be begin July 16 at Royal St. Georges in England.
According to a report by Golf Digest on Wednesday night, the Royal & Ancient, the governing body for the Open Championship, has decided to cancel the sport’s oldest major championship.
The decision could be announced as early as Thursday. Sources told Golf Digest that the R&A was awaiting the decision on Wimbledon before proceeding.
While no one has any answers as to when any sporting events will take place again as this crisis has essentially paralyzed the world, it has been speculated the PGA Championship would be played the last week of July in the slot that was occupied by the Olympic golf competition (which has been postponed until 2021), the U.S. Open played in September and the Masters in either October or November.
This will be the first time the British Open has not been played since 1945 because of World War II.
According to the Golf Digest report, part of the reason the Open Championship is being canceled instead of postponed like the other three majors has to do with insurance. As Wimbledon does, the R&A has a policy that shields against a global pandemic, and the source said the Open would have to cancel by a certain date in order to collect on its insurance premium.
“The R&A is the most [insured] of all the tournaments,” the source told the magazine. “They have complete cancellation insurance. I just don’t see any golf [being played] before August.”
Irishman Shane Lowry, the 2019 Open champion, will have to wait another year to defend his title.
This was to be the 149th Open Championship, setting the stage for the 150th to be played next summer at St. Andrews, known as “the home of golf.’’ So, it’s highly unlikely that Royal St. Georges, which last hosted the tournament in 2011, would host next year.
After St. Andrews, the Open is scheduled to be played at Royal Liverpool in 2022 and Royal Troon in 2023.
Earlier on Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that the 41st Curtis Cup, which was to be held at Conwy Golf Club in Wales, will be pushed back to summer of 2021. The R&A also pushed back the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.