Due to the current COVID-19 epidemic, the R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020. The Championship will return to Royal St George's in 2021. The original championship, originally contested in 1860, has been canceled for the first time since World War II.
The decision was made after several meetings of the Rules and Quality Control committees this morning. It is expected that a further meeting of these committees will be held tomorrow (Friday) to discuss possible alternatives to The Open this year.
The Open has always been a landmark event on the golfing calendar, not only because it is one of the four major championships but also because it is the only one that is allowed to start at sunrise. In fact, it is the only major allowed to start before noon on the first day. This unique feature dates back to 1860, the very first Open, which was played until then at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. The British Open is usually the last major of the year, so its cancellation this year would cause considerable controversy.
The Open has never been more important than it is now. It was supposed to be the climax of the world golf season, with all the top players in the world gathering in one place. But given the current situation, it makes far more sense for them to stay home and let everyone else play in their place.
The 150th Open Championship will be held in St Andrews from July 10–17, 2022.
The decision was made after careful consideration of the health and safety of everyone involved with The Open, including staff members, players' families, volunteers, and spectators. The main concern for the R&A is that a large number of people coming together in one location without proper precautions could result in the spread of COVID-19. Given this risk, and given that there are more important things we can be doing right now to prevent further spread of the virus, the board has taken the difficult but necessary step of cancelling The Open.
St Andrews is one of the world's most famous golf destinations and it would have been impossible to ensure the health and safety of both players and fans during this period. The R&A will work with local authorities to determine what measures can be taken in advance of The Open next year to avoid a repeat of this situation. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these video highlights from past Opens at St Andrews.
The Open has always been about much more than just golf. It has been an occasion where the nation comes together to celebrate the game we love and support our players.
The organizers of the Open Championship said Wednesday that they are "cautiously optimistic" that the golf's oldest major will go place at Royal St. George's in July. The event was canceled last year for the first time since 1945 because to the COVID-19 epidemic, thereby putting the R & A's program back one year.
St. George's has been shut down since March 17 when the virus first emerged in the United Kingdom. That is also when it began to take hold in the country with full restrictions being put in place a few weeks later on April 23. Since then, there have only been a few exceptions including this year's tournament which was allowed to proceed as an exhibition match.
The Open has not been held in Britain since 1915 when John Henry Taylor won his only title at the Old Course at Saint Andrews. Before that, the British Open had been played every year except during the First World War when it was cancelled for the first time in its history.
Taylor's victory made him the first non-American to win the Masters Tournament which at the time was known as the Augusta National Invitational. He remained the only foreign winner until 1954 when Englishman Peter Alliss claimed his first and only Major championship.
Britain had been scheduled to host the 2015 Open but all sporting events were suspended due to security concerns following the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.