WORLD number one Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson teamed up to win the TaylorMade Driving Relief two-on-two charity skins match with a tie-break in Florida last weekend, in the US’ first live televised golf competition since the Covid-19 shutdown.
In an event that raised some US$5.5mil for the fight against Covid-19 in the US, McIlroy and Johnson saw off the challenge of Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, but it was tainted somewhat by unsavory comments, glaringly omitted afterwards by the US media.
Screened live on Astro, the Americans got their president Donald Trump to have a chat on the show and as he so often does, he took a swipe, as veiled as it was, at a certain “location” (obviously China) when he spoke of “the problem” (obviously Covid-19).
Trump said “all of the deaths and destruction (on this golf broadcast)” which was caused “so needlessly” that came out of a location... that they should “have known” and they should have been told (about).
Perhaps the president’s castigation of China in the Covid-19 pandemic has become so widespread that it is swept aside without much thought. However, in terms of golf, this might be viewed a little different.
The US PGA Tour Series-China was put on hold as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold earlier this season and there has been no light shed on the matter apart from the Tour saying they will make a statement when they need to.
“We’ll share any further updates (about the China Series) at the appropriate time, ” the PGA Tour said at the time. Despite the PGA Tour saying, when probed, that they are in the “process of formulating revised plans related to schedules” for Latin America and Canada, along with China, some believe the China Series might be sidelined altogether – no future at all. Previously the PGA Tour said it was difficult to make definitive plans until their Tour’s leadership knows how governments are going to handle travel by visitors coming into the various countries where their events are held.
In Trump’s comments on the TaylorMade Driving Relief he said he had spoken with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, amongst other people, about the return of sports in the Covid-19 era in the US.
And as we know now, the PGA Tour’s regular season will resume with the Charles Schwab Challenge from June 11 to 14, followed by the RBC Heritage from June 18 to 21 and the Travelers Championship from June 25 to 28.
His comments came just hours after Park Hyun-kyung won the KLPGA Championship title as women’s golf in South Korea restarted in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The PGA Tour has been silent on whether or not they have been in touch with the China government with regards to the China Series and its supposed rescheduling of the circuit’s dates. Some have questioned why Monahan and his Tour have not been forthcoming about the China Series.
Indeed, it does make things look rather odd and Trump’s theoretic aimed at China, whom he has a massive issue, including trade, does not help the situation.
In Asia, the PGA Tour also has three regular early-season events. They are the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island, South Korea, the Zozo Championship in Chiba Prefecture, Japan and the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai, China. These have already been played in the 2019-2020 campaign.
The PGA Tour solely sanctions the PGA Tour Series-China and last season it carried prize money worth US$3.8mil.
The European Tour have targeted four tournaments in a row in England to get their season up and running again. And if things go as planned, these would be the British Masters in Newcastle from July 30 to Aug 2, the Scottish Open in North Berwick from July 9-12, the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey from Sept 10 to 13 and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Kingsbarns, Scotland from Oct 1-4.
The LPGA announced in midweek that “due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give will not be held in October 2020. The tournament will return to the Tour schedule in 2021 at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“Additionally, the ShopRite LPGA Classic, previously postponed from its May date, has been rescheduled for Oct 2 to 4, the dates opened by the cancellation of the Meijer LPGA Classic, ” the LPGA said.
According to the LPGA schedule, their season will resume with the Marathon Classic in Ohio from July 23 to 26, followed by the Evian Championship in France from Aug 6 to 9 and the Ladies Scottish Open from Aug 13 to 16. The AIG Women’s British Open at Troon, Scotland is scheduled for Aug 20 to 23.
The Asian Tour is expected to get going with the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea from Sept 10 to 13, followed by the Mercuries Taiwan Masters from Sept 17 to 20 and the Panasonic Open Championship in Chinese Taipei from Sept 24 to 27.
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