THE European Tour today unveiled the 2020 season will resume in July – but gave no indication whether the Ryder Cup would go ahead as scheduled in September.

Tour chief executive Keith Pelley announced the launch of a new six-week ‘UK Swing’ and confirmed new dates for four Rolex Series events.

The international circuit, was suspended on March 8 due to the coronavirus outbreak, will restart behind closed doors in July and will run through to December.

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The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, originally scheduled to take place in July, will now be played in early October.

The Ryder Cup match between the United States and holders Europe is due to take place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 25 to 27.

Pelley said: “We still have to discuss every element with our partners at PGA of America so we’ll not be making any definitive statements on it.”

Pelley stressed that all tournaments will be subject to the safety and testing protocols set out in their health strategy.

And he stated the strategy will evolve in line with international government guidance and health guidelines.

The first tournament in the UK Swing will be the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, which will be played at Close House outside Newcastle from July 22 to 25.

It will be followed by the English Open at the Marriott Forest of Arden and the English Championship at Marriott Hanbury Manor.

After that, The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport hosts back-to-back tournaments – the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open – 10 years after staging the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The UK Swing will conclude with the UK Championship at The Belfry, another venue rich in Ryder Cup history, having played host to four contests.

Details of subsequent tournaments on the European Tour from September through to November will be announced in due course.

However, rescheduled dates have been announced for four Rolex Series events; the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, which now takes place from October 8 to 11, and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club which moves to the following week, October 15 to 18.

There are also new dates for the final two tournaments of the year. The Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player is now scheduled for December 3 to 6 at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City while the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, now due to take place from December 10 to 13 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion will be crowned.

All tournaments played in the reshaped 2020 season will be governed by the tour’s comprehensive health strategy which has been developed by Dr Andrew Murray, the European Tour’s chief medical officer, in consultation with health care specialists Cignpost, who will deliver the testing procedure, and advisers in many of the 30 countries the tour plays.

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Pelley said: “Since the suspension of our 2020 season in early March, we have taken a measured approach in reassessing our schedule, informed every step of the way by our medical advisers and government guidance.

“We have consistently said that safety is our absolute priority and that is why today we are announcing our resumption in two months’ time supported by a comprehensive health strategy which has been led by our medical team.

“Without question we have had to think differently about the remainder of our 2020 season which is reflected in today’s announcement.

“As golf’s global tour, diversity is ordinarily one of our biggest strengths, but in this instance it has become one of our biggest challenges.

“Initially, therefore, based on the expert guidance we received, playing in clusters, in one territory, is the best option in terms of testing, travel and accommodation.

“I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Betfred, Close House, Marriott, The Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, The Celtic Manor Resort and The Belfry for sharing our vision for this ‘UK Swing’ and we look forward to returning to tournament play in July with this innovative stretch of six events.

“As well as getting golf going again for our players, our broadcasters, our stakeholders and our millions of fans around the world, these new events will also enable us to give back during these unprecedented times, building on some of the community support already given by our players over the past few months.

“I also want to pay tribute to Rolex, BMW, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the Scottish Government, Nedbank, Sun International and DP World, for their continued commitment to the European Tour which allowed us to move four hugely important tournaments on the European Tour into new dates later in the year.

“Not only did they show flexibility, they also showed understanding of the current global situation and we are truly fortunate to have them as partners of the European Tour.”

The tour’s intention remains to crown a new Race to Dubai Champion on Sunday, December 13. But as part of the changes to the end of the 2020 season caused by the impact of COVID-19, the tournament committee has agreed that all members’ 2020 categories, and their ranking within that category, will be retained in 2021 with related playing rights being protected to the absolute maximum possible in the 2021 season.

That decision was passed unanimously by the Committee, as was the fact that there will no longer be a ‘Minimum Tournament Regulation’ for the 2020 season.

Pelley added: “We recognise that when we resume playing golf, each player’s circumstances will be different. We therefore do not want to put anyone in a position whereby they feel they have no choice other than to play in certain events in order to protect their livelihood.

“Similarly, the feeling was that it was not fair to disadvantage any member who might want to play in an event but who might not be able to due to ongoing travel restrictions. Therefore, in consultation with our tournament committee, it was agreed preserving their exempt status for 2021 was the fairest solution in these unprecedented times.

“As a consequence, there will be no qulifying school this year and no formal graduation from the Challenge Tour, although the tournament committee has agreed to reward exceptional performance on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour in 2020, precise details of which we will announce in due course.”