The Open Championship will not take place at all this year.
Organisers have cancelled the event, which was due to take place at Royal St George’s from July 12-19, following talks with the Government, health authorities and public services.
The Kent course will host the competition next year instead – from July 11-18 – with St Andrews still hosting the 150th Open, but a year later than scheduled in 2022.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open. We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart.
It is with a heavy heart that we have to cancel The Open for the first time since WWII. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.Statement: https://t.co/brJfuOZSFPpic.twitter.com/iizOupOk4m
— The Open (@TheOpen) April 6, 2020
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.
“There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.
“In recent weeks we have been working closely with those organisations as well as Royal St George’s, St Andrews Links Trust and the other golf bodies to resolve the remaining external factors and have done so as soon as we possibly could. We are grateful to all of them for their assistance and co-operation throughout this process.
The R&A will transfer over tickets and hospitality packages purchased for 2020 to The Open in 2021. Purchasers who no longer wish to (or are no longer able to) attend in 2021 will receive a full refund. Further info will be sent to ticket and hospitality purchasers in due course.
— The R&A (@RandA) April 6, 2020
“Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding. At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe.
“We are committed to supporting our community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis.”
The R&A says this year’s remaining professional and amateur championships are under review.
The European Tour earlier confirmed the postponement of its events in Morocco and Stockholm in June.
The Trophee Hassan II, scheduled for Rabat from June 4, and the Scandinavian
Mixed, from June 11, will be rescheduled at a later date.
The Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour, which was due to run concurrently with the Trophee Hassan II, has also been postponed.