PGA Tour plans June tournament in first hint of sports return

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Golf’s governing bodies came together on Monday and collectively announced what can only be described as a hopeful — fingers crossed — new schedule for the 2020 season that, like everything else, has been dismantled by the coronavirus crisis.

The day began with the British Open announcing it is canceling its 2020 tournament. Then the U.S. Open announced a new date for its championship at Winged Foot, then the Masters confirmed recent rumors of a November reschedule.

The PGA Tour, too, floated the possibility that there could be an event played as early as June, though it’s difficult to imagine — even if that comes to fruition — that spectators would be permitted.

According to a memo the PGA Tour sent out Monday, the next event on the schedule that remains scheduled is the Charles Schwab Challenge, May 21-24 in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by the Rocket Mortgage Championship, May 28-31 in Detroit.

Golf Digest reported that the PGA Tour will resume in mid-June with the first event being the Memorial Tournament and that the event would be played without spectators.

But a source with knowledge of the PGA Tour’s business told The Post that the Golf Digest report is inaccurate and that the Tour is still “going over 500 different scenarios.’’ And, Memorial tournament director Dan Sullivan “vehemently disputed’’ the report, according to the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

Sullivan did say the Memorial is “doing everything in its power to make sure it is postponed and not canceled.”

The PGA Tour website stated that the Tour “will seek to reschedule tournaments into the weeks formerly occupied” by the U.S. Open (June 18-21), the British Open and the men’s Olympic golf competition in July and August.

One scenario the PGA Tour listed in its “revised schedule’’ memo was the possibility of an event taking place the week the U.S. Open was originally scheduled, where it read: “Potential PGA TOUR event.’’ Those same words appeared next to the cancellation of the British Open, July 13-19, and in the July 27-Aug. 2 slot where the now-canceled Olympic golf competition was scheduled.

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry will have to wait until next year to defend his British Open title.EPA

Suffice it to say that, aside from Monday’s maneuverings, this remains a highly fluid situation.

The 2020 British Open, which was scheduled to be played at Royal St. Georges in England, became the first of the four golf major championships to be canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The R&A, the governing body for golf’s oldest major championship, announced that the 2021 Open will be played at Royal St George’s, not St. Andrews, which had been the historic chosen site for the 150th edition of the championship, and that St. Andrews will host the Open in 2022, which will now by the 150th edition.

The Masters, which was scheduled to be played this week, was the first of the four majors to alter its plan last month — and that plan, Augusta National announced, is to play the week of Nov. 9-15.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement that “more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come,’’ adding, “We, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the Coronavirus. Along the way, 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.’’

Ridley also announced the that the 2020 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which was scheduled for the weekend before the Masters, would be canceled. He said all players who’d accepted invitations for the 2020 championship will be invited to compete in the 2021 event.

The USGA on Monday confirmed an earlier report by The Post that the U.S. Open, which was scheduled for June 18-21, would be postponed but still played at Winged Foot. The new date is Sept. 17-20.

“We are hopeful that postponing the championship will offer us the opportunity to mitigate health and safety issues while still providing us with the best opportunity to conduct the U.S. Open this year,” Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, said in a statement.

“I hope this gives hope to the people of Westchester County and New York who are dealing with this harder than most places in our country,’’ U.S. Open defending champion Gary Woodland told Golf Channel. “It shows that they believe that it will be safe enough to showcase one of the best golf courses in the world in front of the best sports fans in the world.’’

The PGA Championship, which was to be played in May at Harding Park in San Francisco, has been postponed until Aug. 6-9.

According to the PGA of America, the Ryder Cup, which is scheduled for Sept. 25 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, remains as scheduled.

“Sports, and particularly the game of golf, are important vehicles for healing and hope,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said in a statement. “With our country going through extremely difficult times, it will be an honor for all of us at the PGA of America to hopefully help turn a page in August with the PGA Championship and September with the Ryder Cup.’’