As the coronavirus pandemic started to spread, it was inevitable that some of the major events will have to be postponed or canceled, and that also includes the Tokyo Olympic Games, that were, in fact, postponed. This means that another big event on the calendar for golf will not take place as it was supposed to originally.
This decision was made in light of the outbreak of the virus, which is understandable. However, many fans are heartbroken together with dozens upon dozens of athletes who have practiced a lot fo the 2020 Games. The only comfort the golfers can have is knowing that there will be other events in this year, that they can participate in.
In addition, the postponement of the Olympics for golf actually gives a room of resetting the schedule and thus making a much fairer qualification process. There was quite a high enthusiasm for the Tokyo golf competition, and those who skipped it four years ago, have realized what they were missing. Rory Mcllroy was one of the first to acknowledge the missed opportunity and seemed quite self-assured for this summer to represent Ireland.
It was inevitable
The main point of this is that the postponing of the games was inevitable. With the potential for a very hectic schedule, once golf actually resumes, there are going to be those who missed the opportunity to play in Tokyo, especially on the men’s side.
Before the current pandemic started to spread in the USA, Dustin Johnson has announced that he would be skipping the Games if he were to qualify, because of his schedule. On the other hand, Brooks Koepka was undecided, and others would have surely followed, which is why it seems to be a very challenging situation.
For golf in the Olympics, this definitely would not have been seen as good look . So far, it is not looking the best, as nine PGA Tour events have been canceled, with two majors, the PGA and Masters Championship have been postponed. This can really make a strain on the golfers and those who enjoy watching the sport.
Resuming the schedule
This can all turn complicated very fast. However, if there was a possibility to resume the golf schedule in June, optimistically it would seem that there would still be four major championships playing – which are the Ryder Cup, three FedEx Cup (potentially) playoff events, and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude.
For July 30 to August 2, men’s Olympic tournament has been scheduled, which is just two weeks before the FedEx Cup Payoffs and two weeks following the Open payoffs. So, the Olympic event was about to be squeezed even more.
The PGA Tour’s executive vice president of the global affairs Ty Votaw, has stated that having some level of certainty as to what will happen or what will not happen is the best that we can get out of this decision. He is also the International Golf Foundation’s vice president.
There were many athletes in other sports who had hard time training due to the guidelines of social distancing and forbidden gathering of people, and that does not just include golf. With that uncertainty removed, it is definitely beneficial for all athletes.
Even if the conditions were to improve drastically, who knows what kind of day-by-day changes that would implicate in this dynamic, and not having the Game is probably the right decision. Even if it does not improve it all, as far as this year is going, it is giving us a lot more options for scheduling.
Moving to the Olympic Slot
Of course, there is also the sentiment of moving the PGA Championship to the Olympic tournament slot, and that would happen if the event in England, Sandwich was able to actually go on schedule when it was supposed to, two weeks after The Open. Now, if the USA Open cannot be played in June, then there is a potential to play in September, while Masters is already wildly discussed for getting a date in October, which is two weeks after the Ryder Cup.
However, this all assumes that there will only be positive outcomes, meaning that the virus will be brought under control, and thus it would allow the sporting events to resume. That the tournaments like the USA Open, Masters and PGA Champions will actually be able to deal with any number of obstacles when it comes to changing dates, and that the variety of entities that are involved, like the PGA of America, PGA Tour, R&A, the United States Golf Association and Augusta National can work together in order to make all of this happen.
The good news is that Votaw said that the leaders of a number of these bigger organizations are speaking daily about these matters.
What about women’s golf?
As for women’s golf, there is a potential of scheduling for the next summer, which means that the Solheim Cup will be played in the same year as would the Olympics (a challenge that men’s golf was about to face this year). However, there was also a look at scheduling the crunch later this year by the LPGA Tour, and due to the postponement of Olympics, there was some relief for everyone.
Being a part of the festivities
Now, how could we forget one of the biggest potential benefits in men’s golf, the availability of the most recognizable star as a part of the festivities, Tiger Woods. He has definitely made his name known, and he has also made it abruptly clear that he has a desire to make the USA team.
Those dreams are now on hold because this is his last realistic chance to do that. Woods’ murky playing status has suggested something was awry, as he played just three times in this season, and only twice this year, and the last competitive round he had was on February 16th.
With the Official World Golf ranking being frozen, Tiger Wolf is ranked as the 11th in the world, so he is able to take advantage to get his body right, while not losing ground, in theory. Overall, one could say that Tiger Woods’ availability for this tournament does not have that much consequence. But, in terms of golf, it does matter, and in this whole bleak situation, this might be that one bright stop.