The return to competition this summer for European Tour players may include an extended stay in the United Kingdom.
While the PGA Tour is three weeks away from an expected resumption of tournament play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, the wait continues on the other side of the Atlantic. Nearly two dozen European Tour events have either been postponed or canceled, and the next scheduled event remains the July 30-Aug. 2 BetFred British Masters. But according to a Golf Digest report citing an internal memo from European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, the circuit plans to return with “robust testing and hygiene processes” this summer.
That return could reportedly include a lengthy stay in the U.K., as the tour looks to create a “bubble” to limit potential exposure for players. In addition to the British Masters, hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House, the European Tour is “preparing” to add three more U.K. events at Forest Arden, Hanbury Manor and Celtic Manor. All three new events would reportedly include purses of 1 million Euros, and all three properties include large, on-site hotels that could potentially house players.
Any such plan would likely include staging an event opposite the PGA Championship, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and will be played Aug. 6-9, the week after the British Masters. But the PGA at Harding Park is the only remaining event on the European Tour schedule in August, meaning officials have some room to either create new events or reschedule some that were previously postponed.
The report also includes information on membership, with the European Tour following in the footsteps of U.S.-based circuits by extending player privileges for 2020 into 2021. Consequently, there would be no European Tour Q-School this year or promotion of top players from the Challenge Tour, although 2021 fields would reportedly include some spots for top players not otherwise exempt based on 2020 standings. Minimum-start requirements would also be waived given the expectation of ongoing international travel restrictions.