As the world takes steps to slow the spread of Coronavirus, golf is the latest sport to fall foul of the bug with the postponement of the PGA Championship and a parallel delay in the LPGA.
In football, Serie A and La Liga have already been delayed to promote social distancing. And the Premier League has just announced the suspension of the next three week’s fixtures, though Liverpool’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid went ahead on Wednesday.
I bet Jurgen Klopp wishes it hadn’t!
No PGA Golf until the Masters
Back to golf; the 105th season of the PGA Tour, and the 53rd since separating from the PGA of America, has temporarily ground to a halt.
Yesterday, the 12th March, the PGA moved swiftly to cancel tournaments through to April 5th, shelving the imminent 2020 Players Championship and the Valero Texas tournament, due to take place between April 2nd and 5th. Hopefully the sport will resume in time for the Masters which begins on Thursday 9th April.
The official PGA statement said: “It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events through the Valero Texas Open. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players to continue the event throughout the weekend. But at this point the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”
LPGA quick to react
The LPGA Tour has postponed its schedule for three weeks, which takes out the season’s first major. Tour commissioner Mike Whan said: “This is a difficult situation and as we navigate these uncertain times, we appreciate the support of all those involved with the LPGA. I am fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule, especially our first major.”
Three events, the Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix, the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration, both in California, are set to be rescheduled for later in 2020. The LPGA has already cancelled three events in Asia due to the spread of the Coronavirus, and the last event contested was the Women’s Australian Open which ended on February 16th.
The story so far
Hopefully we’ll be back in action before too long, but in the meantime let’s take stock of events so far. Have a look at the PGA 2020 betting odds here at SBOBET and you can see three of the biggest names from the last two decades of golf are leading the pack.
Brooks Koepka is at the top of the list at 8.50 to win the tour, and he’s alongside Ireland’s Rory McIlroy who triumphed in the WGC-HSBC in China. And who’s hot on the trail of these two top golfers? None other than Tiger Woods who continues his spectacular comeback. Tiger won the Zozo tournament back in October and he’s available at odds of 9.00 to win tour. What a story that would be if he pulls it off.
Patrick Reed is still in the hunt after he won the WGC Mexico Championship in February. He’s a passionate lad is Reed; as his ball dropped into the cup on the Par-3 the hole he let out a scream, pumped his fist and took in the roar of the crowd.
That’s the passion and drama of the tour that we can’t wait to get back to.
England’s Tyrell Hatton had an impressive win in the last tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, and he’ll be one to watch at the resumption of play.
There’ll still be plenty of PGA 2020 news to keep us going while we wait for the storm to pass. In fact, things have been heating up in the media golf world as a former US Ryder Cup warrior has been having a dig at one of Europe’s finest golfers.
Paul Azinger has always been a European golf basher and he waded in again last week with a thinly veiled criticism of England’s Tommy Fleetwood. The Southport based star has been one of the best golfers on the planet over the past two years and will be a big player in the majors; but Zinger saw fit to suggest that Fleetwood couldn’t be considered a great player if he didn’t play in the PGA.
Maybe Azinger’s lack of knowledge of the European tour explains why the US has struggled to live with the Europeans in recent Ryder Cups.
There’s plenty of great action to come, but in the meantime let’s wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. And remember, as the world of sport pulls together, spare a thought for Liverpool fans who hoped to win the Premier League title in the Merseyside Derby due to be played on Monday.
The wait goes on.
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