April 6 (UPI) -- The 2020 British Open was canceled Monday, becoming the first major championship to be eliminated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was initially scheduled from July 12 to 19 at at Royal St. George's Golf Club in Kent, England. Tournament officials said the 149th British Open will be played from July 11 to 18 in 2021 at Royal St. George's.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) announced the decision was based on guidance from the United Kingdom government, health authorities, public services and advisers. Monday's decision resulted in the tournament being canceled for the first time since World War II. The British Open, first played in 1860, is golf's original championship.
"Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open," said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A.
"We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
"I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing the Open this year but it is not going to be possible."
Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley also announced Monday that organizers are targeting Nov. 9 to 15 for the 2020 Masters Tournament, which initially was slated for Thursday through Sunday in Augusta, Ga.
The PGA of America announced Monday that the PGA Championship -- planned for May 11 to 17 -- is now scheduled for Aug. 3 to 9.
The 2020 Ryder Cup is still planned from Sept. 22 to 27 at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisc.