Coronavirus outbreak – what is happening to golf in England

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu March 23, 2020 15:37

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a virtual shutdown in many countries across the world, and one of the main casualties of the virus has been sports.

Almost all sporting events globally have been suspended, with the likes of Formula One, football, tennis, cricket and basketball all having to stop in the face of this outbreak. Golf is no different. It may be one of the most popular sports globally, especially in England, with a number of tournaments being held in the country annually and fans placing a large number of bets at bookmakers, but that has not stopped it from having to come to a halt while the country deals with the threat of this virus.

Sports fans across the world will have to deal with the absence of any activity for the foreseeable future, and it seems as if golf is quickly going down the same path. However, there are multiple ways to stay connected with the sport of your choice, especially on the internet, whether it be through games, or watching videos of previous matches and tournaments.

Another popular alternative is online games – there are golf-themed slot games available online, where fans can somewhat replicate the experience of watching a golf tournament and even win the Open. Of course, it cannot fully replace the actual sport, but with all sports being cancelled at the moment, such games are extremely relevant in terms of allowing fans to stay connected to the sports they love.

The Women’s British Open is currently scheduled to go ahead. Image by Tristan Jones

At a professional level, the PGA Tour called off the Players’ Championship midway through the first round, with the tournament at Sawgrass, Florida being cancelled while in progress. Following this, the Augusta Masters was also postponed, although there were hopes that it could be played without having fans attend the event. The US PGA Championship, which would have been the second major of the year after Augusta, was also postponed. Thus, as we can see, professional golf has come to a virtual standstill, with none of the postponed events likely to now be held in the first half of 2020.

In England and the United Kingdom, the governing bodies for golf put out statements for golf clubs across the nation in order to guide them through the next few weeks. None of the four bodies – England Golf, Wales Golf, Scottish Golf, and the Golfing Union of Ireland – have banned or restricted clubs from having amateur-level golf events and casual golfing. However, they have individually cancelled or postponed some events based on prevailing government and NHS advice, and amateur golfers are encouraged to check their governing body’s website for up-to-date information on upcoming events and the impact of the virus on them. Players have been encouraged to go out and play golf, as it is a valuable way of getting some exercise, but at the same time, they have been asked to maintain caution and not congregate in large groups to avoid the chance of spreading or catching the virus inadvertently.

At the moment, the two UK majors of the summer – the Open and the Women’s British Open – are scheduled to be held as usual, in July and September respectively. However, the R&A is looking at and evaluating contingency measures for both tournaments. It has cancelled two amateur-level tournaments that were scheduled to be held in April.

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu March 23, 2020 15:37
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