The International Olympic Committee have confirmed that the Olympic Games, due to start in Tokyo on July 24, have been postponed.
The men’s golf tournament at the Games was slated to take place from July 30-August 2, with the women’s from August 5-8.
In a joint statement released by the IOC and Japan’s prime minister, Abe Shinzo, said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the [coronavirus] outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.
“The director general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating’. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by WHO, [we] have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
How will postponing the Olympic Games affect the golf calendar?
The wording is interesting: “A date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.” The average temperature in Tokyo in January and February is 10°C and would be by far the best result for golf, which is generally quiet in these months.
With the Masters and PGA Championship already postponed and slated for September/October slots, pushing the Olympics back a couple of months would have caused quite a headache, and it may now mean the Ryder Cup, in late September, stays in its original slot despite reports that it too will shift back to 2021.
Which golfers are currently qualified?
- Related: How to qualify for the Olympics
With Olympic qualification suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, the golf line-up is much different to Rio four years previous.
Defending champion Justin Rose would be set to miss out, as would bronze medallist Matt Kuchar.
Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton are projected to represent Great Britain against a strong field that includes Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, and 2016’s silver medal winner Henrik Stenson.
Here’s who is in as it stands, courtesy of ‘Nosferatu’ on Twitter:
One way I used to explain what my projection means, was that if there is no more golf until 22-Jun, then THIS IS THE FINAL LIST OF QUALIFIERS!
See what I meant now..? pic.twitter.com/q0XQWYQ3VJ
— Nosferatu (@VC606) March 16, 2020
While nothing is yet confirmed, it is likely the qualification period will be extended.