Fears that this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open could be in doubt due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak have increased following the European Tour’s decision to suspend ticket and hospitality sales for all its 2020 tournaments.
The annual visit to Irish shores of one of Europe’s richest tournaments, a European Tour Rolex Series event with a US$7 million purse, is scheduled for May 28-31 at Mount Juliet in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
Yet with mass gatherings in Ireland currently banned until March 29 and sporting events across Europe and the rest of the world being postponed or cancelled well beyond that date, the chances of professional sports organisations sticking to their schedules are being reduced on an almost daily basis.
Seven European Tour events up to April 26 have already been postponed, including the Masters, the first major of year, and on Monday evening the Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley sent an email to fans informing them of the decision that “due to the current ongoing uncertainty”, to suspend ticket and hospitality sales for all remaining 2020 events “until further notice”.
“This is a temporary measure but one we feel is proportionate in the current circumstances,” Pelley’s message said.
The European Tour has also cancelled its customary pre-Irish Open tournament media day, which was scheduled for Mount Juliet next week, March 24 and while the Tour were not prepared to comment directly on the DDF Irish Open, it issued the following statement.
“Following the postponement of seven events so far due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the regular European Tour season is not scheduled to resume until at least April 30.
“We will therefore continue to monitor this rapidly evolving global situation and assess its impact on all our events which are scheduled to take place after that point, continuing to work with the World Health Organisation and each national Government and their public health agencies to ensure we have the latest health, safety and travel advice.
“If there are any changes to the status of any of our tournaments we will communicate this in due course. In the meantime, all event preparation will be proportionate. Important as golf is, at this particular time public health and well-being is the absolute priority.”