Golf will no longer feature in the 2022 multi-sport European Championships in Munich after the European Tour and Ladies European Tour opted to withdraw from the event because of scheduling issues.
The sport was one of seven that was included in the inaugural edition of the European Championships, co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018.
Munich was awarded hosting rights to the championships last November and Golf Valley Golfplatz, situated 35 kilometres south of the Bavarian city, was selected this February ahead of the GC München Eichenried and the Golfpark Gut Häusern to host the golf programme.
Munich 2022 wrote in a statement: “We regret to have to inform you that the PGA European Tour and the Ladies European Tour have decided to withdraw from the 2022 European Championship.
“We are surprised and disappointed with this decision, especially since golf was one of the first sports of the European Championships and is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea. It was a shame, especially since Golf Valley was an excellent partner and their place would have been a great backdrop for the event.”
The exit of golf leaves just athletics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon currently on the Munich 2022 schedule.
Of the six sports that were due to return for the European Championships in 2022, golf’s place had been under some scrutiny after the inaugural 2018 event given the lack of buy-in from some broadcasters.
Following the 2018 event at Gleneagles in Perthshire, German public broadcaster ZDF described the inclusion of golf as a “concession to Glasgow” and that it “does not need it a second time.” There were also concerns raised about the lack of star golfers taking part in 2018 compared to the strong line-ups on show for other sports.
Golf Valley president Michael Weichselgartner thought the withdrawal had more to do with the new ownership structures at the LET rather than event congestion caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He told German golf publication Golf.de: “Of course we regret this because it would have been a great opportunity for German golf that has been lost. We are still in touch with the LET to maybe host a women’s tournament in 2022 or 2023.”
The European Championships has endured other problems keeping the same seven sports that were included in the 2018 event together for the second edition.
There were doubts about swimming’s inclusion after the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), aquatics’ European body, failed to approve the choice of Munich as 2022 host.
But LEN has subsequently selected Rome to host its 2022 European Aquatics Championships and stated its intention to integrate the event into the larger multisport championships.
Speaking at the Host City conference in Glasgow in November, Stefan Kürten, the European Broadcasting Union’s outgoing executive director of sport, said that the EBU expects, hopes and is pushing “very much” for the integration of swimming in 2022. The long-standing Kürten also said he hoped there would be another sport added (on top of swimming).
Speaking to DPA about potential additions to the line-up, Kürten said after the 2018 event: “In my opinion another team sport and a modern urban sport are conceivable.” These views were echoed by Axel Balkausky, ARD’s sport co-ordinator, who described beach volleyball as “very suitable” or a “more youth-orientated sport” such as sport climbing.