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Thorbjorn Olesen will make his first start on the European Tour in exactly a year when he pegs it up in next week’s Hero Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden.

The Ryder Cup star is facing charges of sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and assault by beating following an alleged incident on a British Airways transatlantic flight in July 2019.

However, due to a backlog of cases caused, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic, he isn’t scheduled to stand trial until December 2021.

As a result, earlier this month, the European Tour lifted the suspension it imposed on him last August pending the outcome of the proceedings.  

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Olesen chose to sit out the two co-sanctioned events in Austria as well as this week’s British Masters at Close House but his name is listed amongst the entrants for next week’s tournament in Warwickshire.

It will be his first appearance on the tour since the 2019 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. The Dane was returning from that event when the alleged incidents occurred.

The 30-year-old made his return to competitive golf in June’s Danish PGA Championship, where he finished in a tie for seventh and faced reporters.

“I am incredibly sad about what has happened and would like to apologise to all the Danes who have supported me for so many years,” he said.

“I basically haven’t played golf in a year. I played for a week in November in Spain, and then I’ve been playing for the last couple of weeks – that’s it.

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“Since I started playing, I’ve never had anything like that where I haven’t played in such a long time. It’s hard.

During his enforced absence from the tour, Olesen’s world ranking has plummeted to 194th as of this week.

In a statement announcing the lifting of Olesen’s suspension, a European Tour spokesperson said: “Due to this significant and unparalleled delay in the legal process, the European Tour has agreed that his suspension be lifted with immediate effect, allowing him to compete while he continues to contest the case.

“This will be reviewed following the conclusion of the legal process, but as this is an on-going legal matter the European Tour will be making no further comment at this time.”

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Olesen added: “While my team and I initially agreed that I would not participate in Tour events while the legal proceedings were outstanding, I am naturally grateful to the European Tour for allowing me to continue my career following the lengthy adjournment of my trial.

“Obviously, the case itself is still on-going so I will continue to make no comment about it.”

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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