Scotland’s top amateur golfers to miss out on big European events this year

Governing body sticking with decision to scrap 2020 tournament activity

Scotland’s title-winning side in the 2016 European Team Championship in France – a second successive tartan triumph in the event.
Scotland’s title-winning side in the 2016 European Team Championship in France – a second successive tartan triumph in the event.

Scottish Golf is sticking with its decision to not undertake any tournament activity at all in 2020 despite a revised amateur schedule having created a strong run of events later in the year.

Both run by the R&A, the Women’s Amateur Championship and the Amateur Championship will now take place at neighbouring venues in the same week at the end of August.

Originally scheduled to be held at Kilmarnock (Barassie), the women’s event has been switched to West Lancashire while the men’s equivalent will now solely be played at Royal Birkdale.

They will be preceded by the Brabazon Trophy at Sherwood Forest (18-21 August) and the English Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Burnham and Berrow (18-20 August).

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After the Amateur Championship double-header in Lancashire, the action is set to switch to the Continent, starting with the European Amateur Championship at Golf du Medoc Resort in France 
(2-5 September).

That will be followed by the European Amateur Team Championships – the men’s event is at Hilversumsche in the Netherlands and the ladies’ tournament is at Upsala in Sweden – from 9-12 September before Cubo in Slovenia stages the European Ladies’ Amateur from 30 September to 3 October.

Scottish Golf announced in early April that it had cancelled all of its events and performance programmes for the remainder of the 2020 season due to the impact of the 
Covid-19 pandemic.

In contrast, the other home unions have come up with revised schedules that are set to start either later this month or next month as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased around the UK and 
Ireland.

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Scottish players, of course, will be entering events such as the Amateur Championships on an individual basis, but the Saltire will not be represented at either of the European Team events, the men’s one having been won as recently as 2016 in France by a side that included Bob MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Connor Syme. That, in fact, was a second consecutive Scottish success in the event after a triumph 12 months earlier in Denmark, where Forrest and Syme were also members of the six-man team.

“As announced earlier in the year, we cancelled all of our events and performance activity for the season, not just the domestic schedule,” said Scottish Golf in a statement to The Scotsman updating the plans for the rest of the year.

“Supporting our affiliated clubs during these challenging times remains our priority and there is no intention to send teams to any tournaments regardless of any date changes.

“The rules for European Team Championships are being relaxed and 2019 results will be used to determine divisions for the 2021 events, meaning there will be no impact on the division that Scottish teams compete in next year.”

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The decision is set to make it extremely difficult for Scottish players to lay a solid foundation for a run at next year’s Walker Cup, which is scheduled to take place at Seminole in Florida in early May.

Stuart Wilson, the Great Britain & Ireland captain, and his team of selectors will be using the European Team Championship as one of their yardsticks for the biennial clash against the US, especially following the postponement of the St Andrews Trophy, a match against Continental Europe, this summer.

The Curtis Cup, the women’s equivalent of the Walker Cup, was due to be played last month but has now been switched to next September – the same weekend as the Solheim Cup – at Conwy in north Wales.

That will give Scotland’s leading women amateurs, including Shannon McWilliam and Hannah Darling, plenty of time next season to try to secure a spot on the 
home team.

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