The Open: Tommy Fleetwood backs decision to cancel event in 2020
"Everybody's safety is the main priority first and foremost, and we'll just have to look forward to an amazing event in 2021."
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/04/20 4:15pm
Tommy Fleetwood has backed the R&A's decision to cancel The Open and is already looking forward to the Royal St George's showpiece next year.
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Fleetwood is fully aware that R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers was faced with "an unbelievably tough call", but he understands that safety is paramount amid the coronavirus pandemic and believes the tournament officials made the right judgement.
"Disappointing is probably not the right word, but it's sad I guess," Fleetwood told Sky Sports News. "These are unprecedented and very difficult times that none of us have ever experienced before. But with Wimbledon, and now The Open being cancelled, it just shows you how severe these times are.
"It's tough news. It's The Open and it's the best event of the year for a lot of people. It must have been an unbelievably tough call to make, but the good news is we'll still get to play The 149th Open. It's clearly what's best at the moment, and you just have to take things as they come.
"I've said many times that if I could win one event and then never pick up a club again, it would be The Open. We've just got to accept the decision and go along with the advice we're getting.
"Everybody's safety is the main priority first and foremost, and we'll just have to look forward to an amazing event in 2021. We'll still get to play at Royal St George's, so it's not like it's been cancelled outright, it's just been pushed back a year.
"The opportunity will still be the same, the event will still be the same, and playing in The Open on home soil will still be an honour and a privilege and I'll be looking forward to that next year."
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The Masters and PGA Championship have already been postponed and are now likely to be rescheduled for later in the year, and Fleetwood would welcome the chance to get back to competitive golf even if it means playing with no spectators.
"The summer is getting quieter, for sure," added Fleetwood, who was runner-up to Shane Lowry in The Open at Royal Portrush last year. "Personally, I haven't looked into it too much, but obviously it's rolling on and more events are getting cancelled. But we're doing what's right and it's difficult for the people making the decisions.
"I know Martin Slumbers has waited it out for a while before deciding on cancelling or postponing later than other events, but I didn't see anything wrong with that. You just have to be ready for whatever the decision is, and when these announcements are made you either plan accordingly or just roll with it a see what's coming next.
"You don't want to take anything for granted, and it's still important that we all look after ourselves and continue to do the right things. But when things go back in the calendar you can plan and get a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"When we come out the other end, the world will be a slightly different place, but it will be nice when we all get through this together and start getting some kind of normality back.
"Whether you're playing in front of spectators or not, when you're trying to play all the majors and a Ryder Cup in a short space of time towards the end of the year, it's very difficult to schedule everything and get them all in. But just getting back and playing golf would be nice way to start the end of the year."