It turns out that the coronavirus isn’t enough to bring the golf world to a halt (yet). We had cancellations, speculations, and corrections on Tuesday, all of which add up to a cloudy picture for the rest of 2020.
In today’s newsletter…
- The PGA Championship has been postponed.
- The PGA Tour extends event cancellations through mid-May.
- The Ryder Cup is still on the schedule (maybe?).
… The PGA of America has postponed the 2020 PGA Championship. This means that the first two majors of the season have now been postponed but not cancelled (yet). It also means that the PGA Tour doesn’t have an event scheduled until May 21.
… The PGA Tour has canceled four more events: the RBC Heritage, Zurich Classic, Wells Fargo Championship, and AT&T Byron Nelson. Given the new CDC guidelines regarding large events, this isn’t a surprise, but it’s still sad. Great events are getting the axe this year, and we may never see Trinity Forest on the PGA Tour schedule again.
… The USGA has canceled the 2020 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. The women’s event was scheduled for April and the men’s event for late May. The USGA refunded all players who attempted to qualify for both championships, whether they qualified or not.
… The Tokyo Olympics are still scheduled to proceed as planned in July. “The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage.” It’s hard to imagine golfers (at least American golfers) committing to travel to Japan at this point, and we can’t blame them. Like the rest of the sports world, we will stay tuned for updates.
We don’t know…
… The status of the Ryder Cup. The Telegraph’s James Corrigan reported early Tuesday that the 2020 Ryder Cup would be delayed until 2021. Such a move would make sense, given the travel bans affecting countries in Europe right now. Just hours later, however, the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s official Twitter account called the report “inaccurate”. So… wait and see? The notion that tens of thousands of people from all over the world will be allowed to congregate this September seems far-fetched.
… How the USGA is going to run U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open qualifying. Along with the cancellation of the two four-ball championships, the USGA also announced that U.S. Open local qualifying and U.S. Women’s Open qualifying have been canceled. This could mean that these events become more of an invitational format. With both championships set to take place in June, the next set of CDC recommendations could mean more postponements.
… Whether the Masters will happen in 2020. Speculation ramped up on Tuesday when LPGA Tour player Marina Alex had her October hotel reservation in Augusta canceled. In fact, many Augusta hotels seem to be sold out on the week of October 5. Vacancies for the rest of the month are growing thin as well. Ultimately, we don’t really know what is going on. If you’re looking for a reason to believe that the Masters will happen this year, tracking hotel reservations could be the glimmer of hope you need.
The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America
Sheep Ranch (Bandon, Oregon)—opening date: 6/1/20
The latest addition to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is Sheep Ranch, set to open on June 1. For the better part of two decades, the property housed a Tom Doak design with 13 greens and no formal routing or teeing grounds. Now Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have converted Sheep Ranch into an 18-hole course. Just north of the main resort, it boasts more oceanfront land than any other Bandon course. Coore & Crenshaw did a masterful job of fitting 18 holes on the small site. It’s the most intimate routing at the resort, returning to key points multiple times. The holes take full advantage of the fascinating terrain, both cliffside and inland. Coore & Crenshaw emphasize the movement of the land by opting for grassy hollows rather than sand bunkers. Sheep Ranch’s stunning ocean views will appeal to all golfers, but I hope C&C’s savvy architecture gets equal appreciation.
Insider tip: As Coore & Crenshaw planned their routing, they found themselves distracted by the existing green sites. Their solution: take all the pins out. Doak’s course sat lightly enough on the land that, without the flagsticks, the land looked more or less natural. (Bill Coore told this story on our recent podcast with him.) -Andy Johnson
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Episode 175: Geoff Shackelford – COVID-19 and golf
The Shotgun Start: Postponements, cancellations, new schedule possibilities, and “The Bulldog”
We begin this Wednesday episode with an update from our social distancing lives before proceeding to the major wave of upcoming schedule cancellations and changes. We discuss the PGA’s postponement, the report of a Ryder Cup move to 2021, and the likelihood of a U.S. Open happening on time. We ponder who is taking the biggest hit in all of this and the many concessions the PGA Tour has and will have to make. Some new schedule proposals and ideas based on the many rumors and reports are discussed, from a new Masters date to a new PGA date and why it might then make sense for the Ryder Cup to bail on 2020. Some Bears and Browns free agency talk sneaks its way in as well. On the occasion of Bobby Jones’ birthday, we present one listener’s argument for why he is the one true GOAT. Then, in our second installment of SGS Spotlight, Corey Pavin’s career is put under consideration. We discuss his slap hitter ways, media constantly talking about his height, the ‘95 U.S. Open win in brutal conditions, and a hilarious Rick Reilly description of Pavin and that win. On the Ryder Cup disasters of 2010, we hit on the rain suit malfunction, Lisa Pavin as “The Captainess,” a blow-up fight with Jim Gray, and the conspiracy theory that Pavin stacked his captain’s picks with born-again Christians as a convert himself. We contemplate his legacy and wonder whether he is “Boomer Rickie” and should be left out of our hypothetical Hall of Fame. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.