European Tour to hold five-week virtual slate

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The European Tour is going virtual until it can resume tournaments put on hold because of the coronavirus.

Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Mike Lorenzo Vera and Joost Luiten will compete from their homes in the BMW Indoor Invitational. It consists of five 18-hole rounds at some of the tour’s most famous courses using the latest simulator technology from Trackman.

It starts Saturday with simulated action on the Old Course at St. Andrews, and there will be a competition each Saturday thereafter at Royal Portrush, Golfclub Munchen Eichenried (site of the BMW International Open in Germany), Valderrama and Wentworth.

Fans will be able to watch on the European Tour’s social media channels.

The developmental Korn Ferry Tour is also reworking its schedule due to the pandemic, using the fall to add to a two-year season now that it won’t have players graduate to the PGA Tour this year.

Five tournaments will be held after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, four of them previously scheduled earlier. The reconfigured schedule provides a total of 23 events in 2020, with the 2021 schedule to be announced later this year.

“While we won’t have the opportunity to graduate a Korn Ferry Tour class in 2020, we feel our reimagined wraparound schedule — with newly created playing opportunities — is the best solution to our season that has been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Korn Ferry Tour president Alex Baldwin.

The reconfigured schedule includes back-to-back weeks at the TPC San Antonio — one on the Canyons Course, the other on the Oaks Course. The latter is the tournament course for the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour, which was canceled.

The top 25 players after the regular season ends in 2021 will get PGA Tour cards, with 25 more awarded from the postseason. The tour has made provisions that those in the top 10 after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship this year will get into opposite-field events on the PGA Tour.

The Symetra Tour, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour, hopes to start July 8-10 and revised its 2020 schedule to add two tournaments and extend the season by five weeks into November. The schedule now has 16 tournaments, compared with 20 events before play was halted by the coronavirus.

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