2020 British Open Canceled Amid Coronavirus Concerns; 2021 Plan Announced

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2020

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 19:  The Open logo tee marker during the first round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 19, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Add the 2020 British Open to the list of sporting events that have been drastically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The major tournament, originally scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's Golf Club, was canceled Monday, the R&A announced (via Sky Sports).

The announcement noted the event will be played in July 2021.

Last Wednesday, Joel Beall and Brian Wacker of Golf Digest cited sources who said the tournament was expected to be canceled. The R&A was reportedly waiting for a decision from the Wimbledon tennis tournament before deciding its own event's fate.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club canceled Wimbledon because of the pandemic Wednesday.

Beall and Wacker noted the Open was last canceled in 1945 because of World War II and was more likely to be called off than postponed because the R&A's insurance policy required it to cancel the tournament by a certain date to collect its premium.

Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, had responded to the story Thursday with a statement in which he said postponement was still on the table:

"We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation."

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The R&A previously released a statement March 19 saying it was "examining a range of scenarios for staging the championships, with our focus on proceeding as planned, as well as considering other contingency options available to us."

All four of the majors in men's golf have been impacted by COVID-19.

The Masters was postponed from its April dates, the PGA Championship was postponed from its May dates and Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post reported the U.S. Open has been postponed from its June dates.

Golf is far from the only sport to be upended by the pandemic.

Major leagues such as the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS all suspended their seasons, the NFL canceled many offseason activities and closed all public events around the draft, the NCAA canceled the men's and women's basketball tournaments as well as all other remaining winter and spring championships, and events such as the 2020 Olympics and Kentucky Derby were postponed.

As of Monday, there are more than 1.17 million cases of the coronavirus across the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

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