THE Australian PGA Championship has been officially postponed to the new year and with the continuing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic still in play has been pencilled in for 18-21 February 2021.
With a raft of strict control measures in place across most Australian states, the difficult decision to reschedule the tournament was made in hope restrictions will ease by the nominated date.
ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Tournaments Director Nick Dastey said the public health considerations of those that help bring this event to life – the players, fans and volunteers – were pivotal in the decision.
“In conjunction with the Queensland Government and other key stakeholders, we have investigated numerous contingency plans to be able to stage the event in December, including players entering a hub and competing while serving a strict quarantine period,” Dastey said.
“Different from other professional sports, golf is a week-to-week travelling tour and in addition to playing in front of no fans, players would have potentially been required to undertake a further period of quarantine prior to or at the conclusion of the tournament.
“For interstate and international players, additional quarantine measures when returning to their home location or next tournament may have also meant a further 14-day quarantine.
“While it is not a decision taken lightly these measures would not be in the best interests of our members, our fans, stakeholders and commercial partners, and as such we have made the decision to postpone the event with the hope that restrictions ease by 2021.”
Given the ever-changing landscape and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman said the PGA will continue to monitor and review its decision, with a definitive ruling of the event’s scheduling to be made in December.
“The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic makes it extremely difficult to stage events at the level we would normally expect,” Kirkman said.
“We will continue to be agile and rely on the expert advice of the Queensland Government to safeguard against the spread of the virus.
“Our new date will be subject to health regulations and will be reviewed again in early December, when we expect to be armed with a more accurate prediction of COVID-19’s impact across the country during summer.
“At that time we will determine whether the event will proceed in February or, as a last resort, cancelled. This will ensure our members and key stakeholders are provided appropriate notice of any decision made.”
One of the Australian PGA Championship’s feature events in its week-long festival of golf, the Greg Norman Medal, will also be rescheduled.
The Greg Norman Medal is Australian golf’s highest individual honour for Australian men and women professional golfers and features an honour roll that includes Hannah Green, Minjee Lee, Marc Leishman and Jason Day.