European Tour golfers to wear mics in restart

LONDON • The European Tour will resume on July 22 with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the United Kingdom, starting with the British Masters, it was revealed on Thursday.

The calendar has been wiped out since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but golf will return at Close House in Newcastle.

The rest of the season will run until December, with all tournaments played behind closed doors and subject to strict health and safety protocols.

All events are, however, subject to the lifting of the two-week quarantine by the British government relating to those travelling from outside the country.

Four Rolex Series events have also been announced, with the season-ending World Tour Championship - which culminates in the crowning of the Race to Dubai champion - taking place in December in Dubai instead of November.

With all events being held behind closed doors, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley wants golfers on its circuit to wear microphones to add colour to the TV coverage in the absence of fans and, if the adoption takes off, it could be a "way of life" going forward.

Conversations with caddies and fellow players will be audible to viewers and Pelley admitted that the crisis had forced the European Tour to think out of the box.

"Covid-19 allows you permission to try things a little bit differently," he told the BBC.

"You have to be as creative as you possibly can when playing behind closed doors."

Like the European Tour, the US-based PGA Tour will be resuming after a three-month hiatus at the June 11-14 Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

Its first four events will be behind closed doors, but the fifth - the July 9-12 John Deere Classic in Illinois which was earmarked to welcome fans - was cancelled on Thursday. As such, the PGA Tour is hoping to have fans back at the July 16-19 Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2020, with the headline 'European Tour golfers to wear mics in restart'. Subscribe