The USGA must have some a couple of Plan Bs up its sleeve, or at least a pipeline into Canada’s federal government that assures golf will somehow be exempt from recent COVID–19 travel restrictions in the next few months.
That last one seems unlikely after Canadians caught by the new restrictions either changed plans or spent hours on the phone trying to book three-day stay at a government-approved hotel, while they wait for the results of a coronavirus test. How would they react if golf tournaments were deemed an essential service?
The USGA is rolling the dice on U.S. Open qualifiers being played outside American borders this year and don’t count out the possibility of it rolling snake eyes.
It’s less than three months until a U.S. Open local qualifier is to be played May 18 a TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont. Then came word on Tuesday that a sectional qualifier will be held on June 7 at Rattlesnake Point in Milton, Ont.
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The sectional qualifier, if it is held, will be played just three days before the start of the RBC Canadian Open at Toronto’s St. George’s Golf and Country Club, but there are no guarantees, at least at this point, that the national championship will be played. If it is cancelled for a second consecutive year, you can bet the U.S. Open qualifiers will be, as well.
Nothing is certain right now, which is the point. We’re over a year into COVID-19 and we’ve seen a first and second wave, with a third wave possible due to the different variants and vaccination that has been slow to roll out in Canada. The clock ticks louder as we move towards the qualifiers and the Canadian Open.
Unless there is a dramatic turnaround, these events will need to manoeuvre through a myriad of local, provincial and federal regulations in place to deal with the coronavirus and most polls show Canadians have little tolerance towards non-essential travel to this country.
That would seemingly make a quick change, contingency plan a necessity.