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Robert Rock: The Open cancellation is no shock

By Matt Maher | Sport | Published:

Staffordshire golfer Robert Rock believes it is inevitable more European tournaments will be axed following this week’s postponement of The Open.

Robert Rock

The R&A took the decision to cancel its 149th staging at Royal St Georges, which was scheduled for July, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It followed a host of other cancellations across a continent currently on lockdown due to the healthcare crisis.

Rock, who says golf is currently the furthest thing from his mind, believes it will be a long time before many players feel safe enough for any tournament to take place.

He said: “I for one certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable going to play a golf tournament for some time yet.

“The organisers may feel under pressure and probably are under pressure to put some events on.

“But that does not mean players will actually want to go and play in them.

“If you have people to look after at home or are insecure about going and doing your shopping, then why are you going to go to an airport and go to a tournament overseas when you have no idea what you are heading into?

“I would certainly not feel comfortable. I would want to know everything is OK before committing to anything.”

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The next tournament scheduled to take place on the European Tour is the German Open in late June, but it looks certain to follow a host of other events in being rearranged or cancelled altogether.

While The Open will now take place at Royal St Georges next year, new dates have been set for golf’s other three Majors, all of which take place in the USA.

The US PGA Championship has been moved from May to August, while the US Open and Masters tournaments will now take place in September and November respectively. Yet Rock, who tied seventh in The Open in 2010 at St Andrews, believes even some of those new dates look optimistic. He said: “I don’t think any of us were surprised to see The Open postponed. I really don’t think they were left with any other choice.

“What did surprise me is they have committed to dates for the other tournaments.

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“Right now that does not seem to make much sense, but I suppose they felt they had to do something.

“There is so much more to putting on a tournament than just having the players turn up and play.

“You’ve got to give venues a chance to get ready and there is so much to set up.

“These are large-scale operations and at the moment golf and sport just isn’t important compared to everything else that is going on.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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