Golf's Australian Open Cancelled For The First Time In Many Years

Australia's three biggest golf tournaments fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, dealing an "unprecedented blow" to the sport.

The Men's and Women's Australian Open and the PGA Championship, all scheduled to take place in February, will no longer take place.

This is the first time since 1945 that the Men's Open, previously won by greats like Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy, will not be taking place. 

PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman said, after what he called "months of exhaustive consultations as cited by Sports Central: "It's unprecedented and a real blow for Australian golf and its fans.

Australia has closed its international borders to most travelers in an effort to suppress the coronavirus pandemic, and even people traveling between different states and regions of the country may be subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine.

PGA officials have considered a number of options to deal with the restrictions, including players entering a hub and competing during a strict quarantine period, as well as limiting the number and movement of spectators. But in the end, none proved to be viable.

Kirkman said: "Even with multiple contingency plans, it has reached a point where decisions have to be made and this, regrettably, is the one we've had to take.

The Australian Open and the PGA Championship were originally scheduled for late November and early December at Kingston Heath in Melbourne and Royal Queensland in Brisbane, respectively.

Both have been postponed in recent months in hopes that a late summer slot, possibly near the Women's Australian Open would buy time to accommodate them.

However, the effects of Covid-19, including bringing together international pitches and ensuring the safety of players, spectators and officials, have forced the hand of the organizers.

Kirkman concluded: "We look forward to bringing all three tournaments alive again when they return as normal for summer 2021-22.