They’re still about four months away, so let’s not be premature as several social media posts were on Wednesday in wrongly saying golf courses would have to close when Ontario declared its third state of emergency in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, recent developments are beginning to cast a long shadow on the 2021 CP Women’s Open, to be played Aug. 26-29 at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club and could also affect the 2021 Shaw Charity Classic, currently set on the PGA Tour Champion schedule for Aug. 13-15 at Calgary’s Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club.
With the 2021 RBC Canadian Open already cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, Canada is going through a spike in P.1 variant cases and British Columbia leads the way by a big margin over other provinces.
The P.1 variant was first identified in Brazil, a country that is currently the epicentre of the pandemic, and is considered highly contagious, affecting young people aged 20-50, the age group that includes LPGA players, in particular. There is also concern that current vaccines may not be effective in preventing infection.
The extent of the P.1 variant in B.C. is promising to be a factor in whether further restrictions beyond those already in place are needed and whether the CP Women’s Open is played. There have also been cases in Alberta, but not to the same extent.
As if crossing the U.S.-Canadian border wasn’t already tough enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans to avoid travel to Canada, placing this country as a Level 4 or very high level of COVID-19.
“Travelers should avoid all travel to Canada. Because of the current situation in Canada even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada,” the CDC says on its website.
Whether LPGA players are willing to risk a variant that affects their age group still remains to be seen, but they’ll be returning from four weeks in Europe and top American and European players will be in Toledo for the Solheim Cup the week after the Canadian stop and that’s a highlight on their schedules, as are the Olympics in Tokyo, if they go.
In this pandemic, uncertainty is becoming the norm and while it’s best not to jump the gun, there’s no doubt the trends are troubling even for events that are months away.