Legends Tour pro Andrew Oldcorn says the cancellation of the 2020 season has forced “incredible difficulties” upon on many of its players.
The decision was taken to abandon the season in July last year, with officials citing the increased health risk for its over-50 members as the main reason.
Consequently, the tour hasn't staged an event since December 2019. By the time the next scheduled tournament goes ahead (if it goes ahead) in May, 18 months will have passed.
“We couldn’t understand why the decision was taken so early,” Oldcorn, a two-time winner on the European Senior Tour, told bunkered.co.uk.
“They never gave us a chance to say if we would be prepared to take a risk. There was a reasonable percentage of guys that wanted to play, even if it was only five or six events under very strict protocols.
"Why was the decision taken carte blanche? Why could they not have said, 'We can’t play at the moment but we might be able to play later in the year’. I just feel like it was a decision that was taken too early.
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“We started to watch the European Tour guys get to play under protocols and then the Challenge Tour guys got to play, the ladies got to play. We didn’t play anything, haven't played for 14 months and there was a lot of anger about that.”
Sixty-year-old Oldcorn, who won three times on the European Tour between 1993 and 2001, admits he was lucky to play some events on Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour to plug the gap but says some of his fellow pros haven’t been as fortunate.
“Not all of the guys are a superstar of the past and the majority are playing on the tour to earn a living,” added Oldcorn. “Our livelihood has been taken away and it has forced incredible difficulties on many of us.
“We are like most of the general population. We are not immune from the difficulties of this pandemic. This perception that all of us are just happy sitting waiting for the tours to come back and we are sitting on piles of money is just not the case. Players are going to have lost their jobs and their careers through no fault of their own.”
The tour, formerly known as the Staysure Tour, rebranded as the Legends Tour in September in line with a commercial reshuffling which saw the Staysure insurance CEO, Ryan Howsam, take a controlling stake in the tour.
The revolutionary new ownership structure is the first time in golf that an individual will have a controlling stake and leadership role in a major tour.
“Howsam’s enthusiasm is unbounded,” said Oldcorn. “He saw an untapped reservoir of potential in the tour. He has some great ideas and he wants it to succeed. There will be a few bumpy months ahead but I think the future is only good."
The Legends Tour is set to debut in Austria at the Riegler and Partner Legends in May but Oldcorn remains doubtful amid ongoing uncertainties.
“We’ve not been told any different but it would be hard to see that happening," he added. "Sitting here now towards the end of January, a lot is going to have to change for that to happen.”