Tue, 26 May 2020

This year's 149th Open Championship has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament, which was due to take place in July at Royal St George's in Sandwich, Kent, will now be hosted by the venue in 2021.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "We have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible."

It is the first time The Open has been cancelled since World War II (1940-45).

The Open is the only one of the four men's annual golf majors to be cancelled in 2020.

In March, both the Masters and the PGA Championship were postponed, but the US Open is still set to be played from 18-21 June at Winged Foot in New York.

However, the United States Golf Association (USGA) is expected to announce a decision on staging the tournament soon.

The 149th Open will now be played at Royal St George's from 11-18 July, 2021, meaning the R&A can keep the 150th Open at St Andrews in Scotland, from 10-17 July, 2022.

Ireland's Shane Lowry, who won last year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, tweeted:

Royal St George's has hosted The Open 14 times, most recently in 2011, when Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke won the event for the first time.

The Open, which started in 1860, was also previously not held from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.

The only other previous cancellation came in 1871 when no trophy was available because Tom Morris jnr was allowed to keep the Challenge Belt for winning the tournament three times in a row.

The Claret Jug, the current prize for the champion golfer of the year, was introduced in 1872.

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