In more positive news for the game the European Tour and the European Challenge Tour have announced that they will resume their 2020 seasons with back-to-back dual ranking events in Austria in July.
The Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club, from July 9-12, will mark the return of the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca after a five month pause following the global outbreak of Coronavirus. It will be followed by the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal, which remains in its original slot on the calendar but now begins a day earlier, taking place from Wednesday July 15 to Saturday July 18.
Both tournaments will have prize funds of €500,000 and will be dual-ranking events with the European Tour, which fully resumes its 2020 season with the Betfred British Masters Hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House from July 22-25.
It will be the third consecutive year the Euram Bank Open has been part of the Challenge Tour schedule, with Darius van Driel of the Netherlands and Callum Hill of Scotland winning in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Jamie Hodges, Head of the Challenge Tour, said: “We are pleased to announce the resumption of the Challenge Tour season with the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club and the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal, two dual ranking events which will take place in consecutive weeks in July.
“Our measured approach to the 2020 season has mirrored that of the European Tour and we have been informed each step of the way by our Medical Health Strategy, led by our Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Murray, aligned to individual government safety advice.
“Part of this strategy is to play, wherever possible, in clusters in one territory and we are therefore grateful to the Austrian Golf Federation and the two venues, Diamond Country Club and Golf Club Adamstal for their support in making these events happen.
“We will continue to be guided by the European Tour’s Medical Health Strategy and we will announce details of subsequent 2020 Challenge Tour events in due course.”
Christian Guzy, President of Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, said: “We are celebrating our tenth anniversary with the European Tour this year and Diamond Country Club has a history of exceptional moments at the various events we have hosted. For example, the tournament ten years ago was staged at short notice, and two years ago we held the world’s first Shot Clock tournament. Accordingly, we enjoy the trust of those individuals who are responsible for the European Tour.
“Due to the Coronavirus crisis, this year´s event also takes place under very special conditions. There are official regulations, which we will strictly comply with. Nevertheless, we want to hold the tournament to the fullest satisfaction of the Tour and the players. I would also like to thank the political decision-makers in Austria, whose measures were a great contribution in ensuring golf was one of the first sports to resume. The tournament will be a good showcase not only for Austria, but also for the state of Lower Austria.”
The Challenge Tour’s resumption will be five months after Christian Bezuidenhout won the Dimension Data Pro-Am to conclude three consecutive weeks in South Africa at the start of the 2020 Challenge Tour season. Bezuidenhout’s victory at Fancourt Golf Estate in February followed wins for JC Ritchie, his fellow South African, in the Limpopo Championship at Euphoria Golf Club and Sweden’s Anton Karlsson in the RAM Cape Town Open at Royal Cape Golf Club.
On the European Tour, the two dual ranking events in Austria precede the Tour’s full return at the Betfred British Masters at Close House, which launches a six-week UK swing, alongside the English Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden, the English Championship at Marriott Hanbury Manor, the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort and the UK Championship at The Belfry.
All European Tour tournaments played in 2020 will be underpinned by the Tour’s Medical Health Strategy and its ‘Golf for Good’ initiative.