Golf’s European Tour has announced the cancellation of this year’s BMW International Open in Germany and the Open de France, as well as the postponement of the 2020 Scottish Open.
The BMW International Open was scheduled to be played in Munich from June 25-28, while the Open de France was slated to take place at 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National from July 2-5.
The Scottish Open was scheduled from July 9-12 but there are indications the event could still go ahead as part of a ‘salvage schedule’ later in the year. This idea revolves around holding a series of UK-based events in quick succession that could include the Scottish Open, the British Masters and the BMW PGA and Dunhill Links.
The European Tour’s decision to cancel the events in Germany and France has largely been guided by government guidance in the host countries. France has banned all large public gatherings until the middle of July, while Germany has prohibited them until August 31.
In an open letter, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “These are three of our most prestigious events, but it is essential that we continue to follow the guidance of the individual national governments as we stand united in our efforts to stop the spread of Coronavirus.”
Pelley warned golf stakeholders that prize funds for the European Tour would be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in emails seen by BBC Sport earlier this week. In the same exchange he warned that golfers would need to anticipate a paring back of courtesy car services and player lounges.
The European Tour has worked hard to diversify its business and decrease its reliance on hosting the Ryder Cup every four years to balance the books.
The cancellation of events will make it even harder to fund the increases in prize money needed to persuade the world’s leading players to compete on the tour ahead of the lucrative PGA Tour. The latter has announced its plans to return to action in mid-June with four events played behind closed doors.
In spite of the immediate challenges, Pelley continued to try to strike an upbeat note in his letter.
“While today I am informing you about the change in status of these three tournaments, my primary message to you, as a valued fan of the European Tour, is actually one of optimism because I am genuinely hopeful that from now on the information I send you in relation to our 2020 schedule will be positive.
“We cannot emphatically commit to a start date because, as I have said many times, we will not resume until it is safe, and we are permitted to do so. We now have 14 weeks with no tournaments, but those three and a half months are also the time where the global situation may well begin to show signs of improvement. There are already discussions centering around the easing of restrictions in several countries and everyone is optimistic that these can continue.”
Meanwhile, the Senior LPGA Championship has been cancelled. It was scheduled to be played on July 30-August 1 at French Lick Resort in Indiana.