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Senior PGA Championship in May canceled

The Senior PGA, set to be the season’s second major on the 50-and-older Champions Tour, has been canceled outright because of coronavirus, tournament officials reported Thursday.

The Senior PGA was intended for May 21-24 at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor.

“This was not an easy decision, we know how much this Championship means to our Southwest Michigan community, and the positive impact it has on our local economy, however the health and safety of our community is our priority” Jeff Fettig, chairman of the Senior PGA Championship, said in a statement. 

“We will miss the players and fans, who have all become welcomed extensions of our community over the years. While we are incredibly disappointed that the championship will not return to Benton Harbor in 2020, we know that this is the right thing to do.”

Tournament officials stated they explored the option of reprogramming, but said that cancellation was “the only option,” in the face of the coronavirus crisis. 

The season’s first major, the Tradition, was set for the week before in Alabama, and has been rescheduled for September. The tour has five majors per season.

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On the PGA Tour, the season’s first three majors, the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open, have been postponed, with reports saying the final one, the British Open, is set to be canceled.

The Senior PGA has been held at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus-designed resort, every year since 2012, with champions like Colin Montgomerie, Rocco Mediate, Roger Chapman and Paul Broadhurst.

The tournament is signed on to return to Benton Harbor again in 2022 and 2024.

“We completely support the PGA … in their decision to cancel the championship, and we appreciate the diligent and thoughtful way in which they have handled this situation,” said Marcus Muhammad, the mayor of Benton Harbor, in a statement. “We take great pride in our city, and are looking forward to hosting the championship and showcasing all that Benton Harbor has to offer when the time is right.”

The cancellation will cost the Benton Harbor tens of thousands of charitable dollars. In 2018, the tournament raised about $175,000 for local organizations, including the Benton Harbor High School athletic department, as well as the First Tee of Benton Harbor, among several others.

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Winged Foot closure leaves U.S. Open in limbo

The closure of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, due to coronavirus concerns has at least temporarily halted preparations there for the 2020 US Open.

The US Golf Association said in a statement to GolfChannel.com that it continues “to hold the dates for the US Open at Winged Foot in June” while it also monitors guidance and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and state and local authorities.

In the meantime, work that had started on tournament infrastructure such as corporate hospitality tents and grandstands has been halted.

The USGA acknowledged that the championship, programmed for June 18-21, might have to be postponed, but said it was too soon to make that call.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation and making relevant contingency plans,” USGA chief brand officer Craig Annis told the Journal News newspaper that serves Westchester County.

“We expect to make a decision sometime in the middle of April.”

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The first two major championships, the Masters and PGA Championship, have already been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in England is still programmed for July 16-19.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday of “troubling and astronomical numbers” in the rate of coronavirus infections in the state, saying they were doubling every three days.

The Masters and PGA Championship have already been postponed, and the PGA Tour has canceled eight events. There is talk of the PGA Championship taking over the date vacated by the postponed Olympic Games in late July, with the Masters potentially moving to October.

The last time the U.S. Open was not played was in 1945 due to World War II.

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