Marc Warren surprised new dates were announced for majors

Marc Warren believes the golfing world has jumped the gun by building up hopes that three of the four men’s majors might still be played this year as part of a revamped schedule announced earlier in the week.

Three-time European Tour winner Marc Warren.

“You want to have things to look forward to,” said the 39-year-old Scot of the US PGA Championship, US Open and the Masters all getting new slots in August, September and November respectively after being postponed from their original dates due to the coronavirus.

“But I was really surprised they put dates on the majors and they were announced. I don’t see many advantages to that, to be honest. No-one can really know about dates, even for when we go outside again like normal, never mind travel to another country.”

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The R&A has cancelled the Open, due to be held at Royal St George’s in July, while the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, which is scheduled for the Renaissance Club the same month, is coming under increasing threat as event after event is either postponed or cancelled on the European Tour.

“It was the right decision to cancel the Open,” added Warren of a call that has meant the world’s oldest major will not be held this year for the first time since 1945. “We are getting to the stage where we are trying to cram more and more tournaments into such a short space of time and, when you watch the news, it’s almost a bit irrelevant.

“Imagine you try and play a tournament in Scotland and then people from Italy and lots of other countries can’t come and play. Who knows how and when we can start playing again and [European Tour chief executive] Keith Pelley must be having a nightmare just now.

“They’ll be working so hard. The TV contracts and everything that goes with it to fulfil events, but it’s such a tough situation for everyone. It’s unprecedented, no-one has any right or wrong answers.”

The season-long Race to Dubai has already been decimated while other headaches for Pelley and his team at Wentworth include whether or not it will be feasible to hold a Qualifying School later in the year bearing in mind the graduates this season are missing out on playing opportunities during the sport’s lockdown.

“Who knows, really,” replied Warren, a three-time winner on the European Tour, in reply to being asked what he believes can be salvaged from the 2020 campaign. “As far as Q School and that stuff goes, if they don’t get a certain amount of tournaments played, then I am pretty sure you have to go with the same guys again next year. How can you take cards from the people that have them in this unfortunate spell when they don’t have tournaments? Everything’s got to be put back a year if it comes to that. There’s some rumours of shortened events with a one-day break, just to try and get tournaments played. Until borders open up again…”

Warren, a World Cup winner with Colin Montgomerie in 2007, has slipped to 1,200th in the world rankings on the back of two torrid seasons. No longer holding a full card, he’s made just one appearance on the European Tour in the 2020 campaign, but is hoping a self-imposed break before the coronavirus lockdown was imposed has helped him regain his hunger.

“I turned 39 the other day and, for the last few years, I’ve had those thoughts in the back of my head where I maybe wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it for much longer,” admitted the Aberdeen Standard Investments ambassador. “At the start of the season, I took a voluntary break from golf. But now, having a period away from the game, I’m hoping that it rejuvenates a bit of love for the game where you miss it and you want to get back and do it every day.

“Before the virus hit, I was getting a bit of motivation back for the game and had started to work a bit more. I’ve been working hard on my fitness for the past couple of months. The way things have worked out, my break has gone on a bit longer than I hoped or wanted, but the idea was to get the drive and the spark back for golf. Sometimes, you don’t really realise how much you miss something until it’s taken away.”

Warren, who has a swing to die for, was inside the world’s top 50 just over five years ago. “I would definitely enjoy it and look around a bit more,” he said of being able to get back there one day. “I did enjoy playing in WGCs and majors, that was amazing. I look back on that and I’m disappointed it didn’t last a wee bit longer and I’d taken more advantage of it. But it shows how quick this game can change, one way or the other.”