Deja-vu as Aussie summer headliners delayed again
There was a strong sense of deja-vu in this morning’s announcement that the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship have been postponed until early 2022.
Last year we saw a similar schedule shift for the summer’s biggest golfing events in the hope that the worst of the pandemic would be over by early 2021. As it turned out, for the first time since World War II, neither the Australian Open nor the Australian PGA Championship were able to be played.
Adam Scott won the 2019 Australian PGA Championship (Credit: PGA Australia)
This time around, the story should be different. Despite New South Wales and Victoria continuing their daily battle against the Delta variant, record vaccination levels should help to open up the country’s borders once again.
With that in mind, the Australian PGA Championship, which is being played for the first time at Brisbane’s Royal Queensland Golf Club since 2001, will be moved to January 13-16, 2022.
The Australian Open was due to tee-off on November 25th at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. The governing bodies are now looking at a date sometime in late January or February next year.
“These decisions are not taken lightly when we are talking about our flagship tournaments that are playing opportunities for our members,” said PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman.
“But as much as the number of COVID-19 cases is a big concern, it’s also the quarantine requirements that make it difficult to run golf tournaments. Not all countries require international visitors to quarantine – America for example – and that puts Australia at a disadvantage in an international sport.”
“Golfers are sole traders, they are not earning anything if they sit in quarantine for a fortnight,” added Golf Australia CEO, James Sutherland.
“Given all the uncertainty at the moment, we want to ensure the safest and best possible experience for the players and fans, and this gives us some time to create that.”
The schedule reshuffle does not bode well for the rest of the tournaments set to be played this summer including the WA and VIC PGA Championships, WA Open and Gippsland Super 6 across October and November.
Hopefully, there is a way forward or we run the risk of some players being left with no choice but to find other careers. Outside of the state-based Pro-Am Series, our younger domestic golfers haven’t played at the top level since the NSW Open in March.