European Tour will look "radically different" when golf resumes

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The European Tour has warned its members that the circuit could look "radically different" when it emerges from it coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

In a memo to players, seen by both the BBC and The Telegraph, chief executive Keith Pelley hinted that luxuries such as players' lounges and courtesy cars could be dispensed with as the tour looks to stabilise in the wake of the pandemic. 

“Our tour has enjoyed a significant period of growth in recent years, in terms of prize funds, playing opportunities and the overall standard of our events, as well as our broadcast product," said Pelley. "The impact of the coronavirus has stopped this rapid momentum in its tracks, and it will, in fact, require us to reassess many elements. 

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"You should, therefore, be prepared that when we do resume playing, the schedule and the infrastructure of tournaments could look radically different from what you have been used to. 

"Many of the things you have become accustomed to, such as top-class players’ lounges or courtesy car services will most likely assume a different appearance, if indeed they are present at all."

To date, 15 of the 44 tournaments that were originally on the 2020 European Tour international schedule have been either postponed or cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak - 16, if you include the Hong Kong Open late last year which was postponed due to civil unrest.

The soonest the tour can resume is June 25 with the opening round of the BMW International Open. However, that is unconfirmed and is expected that there may be further delays. 

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"Prize funds will also most likely be different," added Pelley. "The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in sponsorship and broadcast areas."

As for solutions, Pelley said that everything that everything is on the table.

“We are looking at options such as (a) multiple tournaments in the same location; (b) two tournaments in the same week, or three in a fortnight; or (c) three or four tournaments back-to-back in the UK with a 14-day ‘quarantine’ period ahead of that to allow players not from the UK to come over and self-isolate in advance, if that health requirement is still in place then.”

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