With the Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021 at a new date ‘beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021’ the golfing calendar has received another jolt in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
So where will everything now fit in and what are the ramifications of the announcement?
1. Will all the big guns show up?
Who knows what the world will look like next summer but at the beginning of this season one of the main gripes was how many tournaments there were to be shoehorned in. Now we have a break at the end of July for the men and start of August for the women.
Dustin Johnson pulled out on the grounds of wanting to concentrate on the FedEx Cup Play-offs so maybe an earlier date will suit his plans for 2021. Or, then again, of course it won’t.
2. Will this help Tiger Woods?
Had the Games gone ahead there would likely have been all manner of withdrawals with players not wanting to travel, this way round Woods’ body might be in a better place and he might qualify on merit and not have to rely on his countrymen pulling out. Even for those who aren’t overly obsessed with Woods, seeing him trot out at the opening ceremony would be pretty special.
3. What does 2020 now look like?
At this stage there’s plenty of finger-in-the-air guesses but this does leave a bit of wiggle room given the Games were due to be played two weeks after the Open at Sandwich and two weeks before the start of the Play-offs.
If the Masters was to take place in October, which is the current favourite based on local accommodation prices, then the logical choice would be to get the PGA Championship played in the Olympic slot.
That would get the majors done, on the very shaky assumption that the US Open and Open Championship go ahead as planned, and then the Play-offs get going in the middle of August.
- Related: Games postponed until 2021
- Related: How to qualify for Tokyo
- Related: Should golf be an Olympic sport?
After the Tour Championship there are three blank weeks which will now be packed and might even be the home to the US Open.
So far the Players and WGC-Match Play are part of nine tournaments that have been cancelled and won’t need rescheduling.
As for the women the 2021 Solheim Cup is due to be played at the start of September and they will have five majors to fit in before that. Before the postponement of the Games they would have followed just 10 days after the culmination of the Evian Championship in France.
Given all the different governing bodies involved there promises to be an awful lot of back-and-forth exchanges to try and get things done.
4. When would the Olympics take place?
There is some talk of a ‘cherry blossom’ Games next April but the early favourite is July which rings obvious alarm bells with the Open.
Providing the Open goes ahead this year, next year’s will be the 150th staging of the game’s oldest major which means a return to St Andrews and more fanfare than usual. This is due to be played on July 15-18.
5 What does the gold medal winner have to say?
Justin Rose will now get another year to call himself the Olympic champion and it will give him an extended period to arrest his current slide.
His reaction to the news was a tweet that was at least seven words too long…
Sad to hear the announcement of the postponement of the @Olympics although it seemed inevitable. 🇯🇵 has been incredibly prepared and will no doubt host an incredible show next year. The Olympics provided me so many incredible memories and also this prized possession from @Hublot pic.twitter.com/AjhvlttuZW
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) March 24, 2020
Of all the things that are going on in the world, two pictures – he adds another with detail in the thread – of an overpriced watch are fairly high on the misjudged list.
A great achievement in Rio and good on him for playing and getting behind the Games but, even at the best of times, why would anyone care about this type of thing?
As for the women’s gold medal winner, Inbee Park? Well, she hasn’t been seen on Twitter since 2017.
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