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The Australian Open golf championship won’t be played this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forces organisers to look at dates early next year.
The Australian Open golf championship won’t be staged this year, but organisers still hope it can be played this summer.
The 105th Australian Open – the fifth-oldest national championship in professional golf – was to have been hosted at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath course in November.
Golf Australia says health concerns and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic have caused a postponement and the Open may now be played there sometime between January and March.
While health concerns were the major reason for the move, Golf Australia operations manager Simon Brookhouse admitted there was also concerned they wouldn’t be able to attract a top-line field with the global golf calendar pushed back following its shutdown.
“When you consider the rescheduled major championships, particularly the Masters from 12-15 November, assembling the customary world-class field was also becoming increasingly difficult,” Brookhouse said.
“Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter of whether or not we could co-ordinate any international stars to visit. The uncertainty of the quarantine requirements for any players coming from outside Australia needed to be considered.
“These requirements would undoubtedly have an impact on our homegrown heroes before they would be able to consider playing, too.
“With all that in mind, we would like to think we could still play the Australian Open this summer and will work with the host, Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club, to find a date suitable for all.
“However it may have to be in the January-March 2021 window with so many variables still to play out.”
The decision means the Australian All Abilities Championship, which features the top 12 players on the World Rankings for Golfers with a Disability, will also be delayed as the tournament is played as part of the Australian Open field.