This year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship has been added to the European Tour’s list of tournament cancellations due to its scale and the complexities of the rotating pro-am format at three venues making it difficult to deliver under current Covid-19 restrictions.
Due to be held at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns on 1-4 October, it had been the only event to retain its original slot on a revised 2020 calendar and was set to take place the week before the rescheduled Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.
However, a decision has been made to call off the $5 million tournament, which was due to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with confirmation being delivered in an announcement from the Dunhill Links Championship Committee.
“This is a real disappointment for ourselves and for all golf lovers, especially those that appreciate links golf,” said a spokesperson.
“Alfred Dunhill has been supporting golf at the Home of Golf and in Scotland for 35 years, initially with the Alfred Dunhill Cup and for the past 19 years with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“We commend the Scottish Government in their resolute response to the pandemic. We do not wish to undermine their efforts or cause any undue risk to the communities that normally host us.
“Given the international nature of the event and, in particular our large amateur field, we felt that this was the prudent decision to take.
“The size and complexity of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, played over three courses with 168 professionals and 168 amateurs, makes it very difficult to stage safely within the current guidelines given the uncertainties we are all facing.
“Regrettably, therefore, we have decided to postpone the 20th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to 2021, but very much look forward to returning next year.
“We have been working closely with the Scottish authorities and the European Tour to continue the event while mitigating against the pandemic, and we are very grateful for all their support.
“We would especially like to thank the staff of the three magnificent golf courses on which we normally stage the event and the surrounding communities who always make us so welcome.
“We applaud the efforts of the European Tour in getting normal professional tournament golf up and running again.”
Keith Pelley, the circuit’s chief executive, is believed to be looking to try to fill the slot with another event, having already come up with a new six-tournament UK Swing that started with last week’s Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle.
However, that won’t be held any of the venues used for the Dunhill Links, one of the circuit’s longest-running tournaments, having been introduced in its current format in 2001 after starting as a team event in 1985, will be an option for an alternative one-off event.
A rigorous health safety strategy ensured the tour’s full return proved successful at the Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle, and that will continue to be implemented throughout a new six-event UK Swing.
However, trying to deliver the plan at three separate venues for the Dunhill Links would have been a logistical nightmare, especially with a big number of pro-am players being thrown into the mix. They normally travel from all over the world and would also be expected to be in secure accommodation.
Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez claimed his maiden European Tour win in last year’s Dunhill Links, which has produced victories in the past for three Scots – Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie and Stephen
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