DP World Tour Championship pushed to December as European Tour restarts 2020 season
Tour will resume on July 22 with six tournaments over six weeks in the UK
The European Tour has announced the resumption of the 2020 season, with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai pushed back until December.
The season-ending event, originally scheduled for November 19-22, will now take place from December 10-13, as usual on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Spain’s Jon Rahm, the current world No 2, is the defending champion.
The revised calendar was announced on Thursday, with a six-week “UK Swing” beginning with the British Masters in late July to mark the circuit’s return. The tour was suspended on March 8 because of the coronavirus. A statement said that “initial” events would take place without fans in attendance.
The DP World Tour Championship (DPWTC) will be the final of four Rolex Series events to be played – those carry increased prize funds, although their purses were not confirmed on Thursday – and follows on from the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa the previous week.
The rescheduled Masters, postponed from its typical April date at Augusta National, was in March confined for November 12-15.
In a statement on Thursday, the Tour said the return of tournaments was subject to "stringent safety and testing protocols", with chief executive Keith Pelley thanking sponsors and organisers for showing "flexibility and understanding of the current global situation".
Pelley said: "We have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance. As golf's global Tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges. Initially, therefore, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation."
The “UK Swing” will commence on July 22 at Close House, near Newcastle (played Wednesday-Saturday) and includes back-to-back stops in August at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales – host of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The swing then concludes with the UK Championship at The Belfry, another former Ryder Cup venue, from August 27-30. The Tour said details of tournaments to run from September to November will be announced in due course, “with a variety of scheduling options currently under consideration as the global situation continues to evolve”.
Pelley added that the Tour will preserve players' exempt status for the 2021 season, saying: "We do not want to put anyone in a position whereby they feel they have no choice other than to play in certain events in order to protect their livelihood.
"Similarly, the feeling was that it was not fair to disadvantage any member who might want to play in an event but who might not be able to due to ongoing travel restrictions."
Updated: May 28, 2020 06:27 PM