Bob Mac's Masters bid dealt a blow by coronavirus

Robert Mac Intyre

The European Tour has announced that next week's Kenya Open has fallen victim to coronavirus - indirectly impacting Robert MacIntyre's hopes of qualifying for next month's Masters.

The Government of Kenya has this morning announced the postponement of all international meetings and conferences.

That includes the Kenya Open, which had been scheduled to take place at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi next week.

Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the European Tour, said: “We understand and totally respect the decision made by the Government of Kenya in these difficult times.

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“We are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the tournament at some point later in the season, but that remains simply a possibility right now – we have no definitive plans at this stage."

European Tour 'Rookie of the Year' MacIntyre had been scheduled to play in Kenya as he looks to muscle his way into the world's top-50 by the end of the month. Currently 67th, climbing inside the top-50 by April 1 would earn the 23-year-old a Masters debut.

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Speaking to bunkered.co.uk this morning, MacIntyre's manager Iain Stoddart said that, whilst the cancellation of the Kenya Open was disappointing, there are far bigger things to consider.

"We're dealing with something that goes beyond golf," said Stoddart. "It's an unprecedented situation. Nobody can predict what's going to happen. It seems like it's changing by the hour.

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"Obviously, it's a huge shame for everybody associated with the Kenya Open and I feel for those involved. But it is 100% the right decision. No question."

MacIntyre's next scheduled appearance, ranking permitting, looks likely to be the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, taking place in Texas from March 26-29, so there is still a great chance of him qualifying for the Masters. However, quite rightly, he's taking a bigger picture view.

"Bob's only 23 and could potentially have twenty-plus Masters ahead of him," added Stoddart. "His career's not going to be defined by playing in the 2020 Masters. In any case, there are far more important things right now. People are dying and any measures that can be taken to help limit the spread of coronavirus should be supported."

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