Memorial tournament to slot into British Open dates: Nicklaus

(Reuters) – Golf’s prestigious Memorial tournament is likely to slot into the calendar on the July dates of the cancelled British Open, tournament host Jack Nicklaus said.

FILE PHOTO: Jun 2, 2019; Dublin, OH, USA; Jack Nicklaus looks on after the final round of the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Nicklaus thinks it unlikely the Memorial can be staged in its original June 4-7 timeslot due to the coronavirus outbreak gripping the United States and much of the world.

Instead, the PGA Tour is planning to postpone the event until July 16-19, Nicklaus said.

The tour’s website currently lists a “potential” tournament on those dates.

“I think they’re looking at probably the British Open (week),” said Nicklaus, who founded the event in 1976 at his home Muirfield Village course in Dublin, Ohio.

Speaking on a cbssports.com podcast, the 18-times major champion sounded flexible and willing to work with the tour.

“They’re looking at probably British Open (week),” he said.

“Right now the Memorial tournament is still on in its regular date. Whether we’ll be ready in the first of June, I seriously doubt it.

“Whether we’ll be ready in the middle of July, I don’t know but we certainly hope.”

The Memorial is one of the biggest tournaments outside the majors, regularly attracting a stellar field and having a major feel played in front of massive and knowledgeable galleries.

It has so-called “elevated status” on tour, with the winner receiving a three-year exemption, one more than regular tournaments.

Tiger Woods has won tournament a record five times.

The PGA Tour, as with the rest of the sports world, is having difficulty planning for a resumption given the unpredictable health crisis.

It has not played since March 12, when it shut down abruptly after the first round of the Players Championship, a day after the National Basketball Association became the first American sport to halt its season.

The official schedule still has competition resuming at the Charles Schwab Challenge (formerly the Colonial tournament) in Fort Worth, Texas from May 21-24.

While the British Open, which had been scheduled for Royal St George’s in Kent, has been cancelled, the other three majors have been postponed.

The PGA Championship has been rescheduled for Aug. 6-9, with the U.S. Open pushed back to Sept. 17-20 and the Masters to Nov. 12-15.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis

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