The Open Championship: Opta facts

By Sports Desk July 16, 2020

The 149th Open Championship was scheduled to begin on Thursday, but Royal St George's must wait another year for its moment in the spotlight.

With coronavirus having led to the removal of golf's oldest major from the 2020 calendar, the Claret Jug will not be contested until next July.

In the absence of any links action, we have teamed up with our friends at Opta to bring you some of the best facts behind the postponed tournament.

 

- Royal St George's first hosted the tournament in 1894; the first time the Open Championship took place outside Scotland. 

- Only three courses have held the Open Championship on more occasions than Royal St George's (14); St Andrews (29), Prestwick (24) and Muirfield (16).

- This edition of the Open Championship was the first instance of the event being cancelled since World War Two.

- There has only been one play-off in the last 10 Open tournaments (2015); there had been four play-offs in the eight previous editions.

- Four of the last six Opens have been won by Europeans, more than any other major over the same period.

- Shane Lowry – victorious at Royal Portrush last year – was hoping to become the first player to win back-to-back Opens since Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008.

- Lowry won the 2019 Open Championship by a margin of six shots; he was the first golfer from the Republic of Ireland to win a major since Harrington won two of them in 2008 (The Open and US PGA Championship).

- Tiger Woods last won the Open in 2006 at Hoylake – if he were to win at Royal St George's, he would have set the longest gap between two Open victories (14 years).

- Nick Faldo is the last English player to win the Open, that victory coming 28 years ago in 1992 at Muirfield. In fact, since the turn of the century, only two Englishmen have won a major: Justin Rose (2013 US Open) and Danny Willett (2016 Masters).

- The last two editions of this competition have seen an Englishman finish as a runner-up: Tommy Fleetwood in 2019 and Rose tied for second in 2018.

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    This year's US Open winners will receive $850,000 less than the 2019 champions, but the United States Tennis Association (USTA) upped the first-round prize money.

    The major will take place behind closed doors in New York amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is scheduled to begin on August 31.

    Men's and women's singles winners in 2020 will receive $3million, down from the $3.85m that was paid out last year, with the total player compensation package dropping from a record $57.2m for the previous edition to $53.4m.

    While runners-up, semi- and quarter-finalists will also see their payouts reduced, a first-round appearance will earn $61,000 in 2020 – an increase from $58,000 in 2019.

    The USTA will also provide $6.6m in grants and subsidies to players due to the absence of a qualifying tournament and a reduced doubles draw.

    "We're proud to be able to offer a player compensation package that maintains nearly 95 per cent of the prize pool from 2019," said USTA CEO and executive director Mike Dowse.

    "The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time."

    Men's reigning champion Rafael Nadal and women's world number one Ash Barty have opted out of the US Open due to concerns about COVID-19.

  • Tre White 'still undecided' on 2020 status ahead of Thursday deadline Tre White 'still undecided' on 2020 status ahead of Thursday deadline

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    But 2019 Pro Bowler White is still to make a final decision as he first discusses his options with his family.

    Speaking to reporters from the Bills' facility on Wednesday, the 25-year-old revealed the restrictive impact on his children was at the forefront of his thinking.

    "I've got until tomorrow, but I just wanted to come in and see how the season was going to go as far as moving around in locker rooms and the day-to-day operations," he said.

    "I'm just talking it over with my old lady and seeing what will be the best decision for my kids, too.

    "That plays a part in it, them being up here and not being able to come to the games, them moving around and my kids being unable to go to school, and being away from my family for such a long time without being able to do anything.

    "We're taking it down to the last day and we'll decide from there. I'm still undecided, honestly."

    White added: "It's just the aspect of guys still testing positive or having false-positive tests and coming back and testing negative. It's just those things that psychologically play a part in my thinking each and every day.

    "Do I want to come in here and get my 11-month-old baby sick just trying to love him and pick him up? Do I want to risk that?

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    Rafael Nadal will respect the decision of any player who competes in the US Open for much-needed prize money as he further explained why he will not be taking part.

    World number two Nadal announced on Tuesday he will not defend his title in New York due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    The ATP Tour has been suspended since March but is due to resume this month, with the US Open scheduled to get under way behind closed doors on August 31.

    As well as having concerns about the global health crisis, Nadal thought playing hard-court tournaments immediately before the rescheduled clay-court swing could have hindered the potential longevity of his career.

    However, the 34-year-old acknowledged not all players can afford to pass up the prize money on offer at the major following a heavily disrupted season.

    "In the current situation all decisions are valid," Nadal told a news conference on Wednesday.

    "There are few things that influenced my decision and the first one is the sanitary reason. The situation worldwide does not look under control, so after checking with my team and family we decide to remain here.

    "Secondly, there is a complicated calendar after many months without competing. To play on the hard surface first and then change to clay without a break is dangerous for my body and for my future, so this is another factor.

    "And then obviously the personal spirits. Many people are going through a hard time and my mood wasn't ideal to travel to New York and to have all the senses focused in the competition and to give the maximum.

    "With the many protocols that we have, it would have been complicated in addition to all that is happening in the world.

    "I am not the one to say whether it is a wise decision or not [to stage the US Open]. I respect all the work and the positive attitude of the ATP and the USTA [United States Tennis Association] to make tennis come back.

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    The cancellation of the Madrid Open means Kitzbuhel and Rome are the only clay-court events remaining on the schedule ahead of the French Open, which was moved to a start date of September 28.

    Nadal is yet to make a final decision on his plans ahead of the defence of his title at Roland Garros, where he has been triumphant a record 12 titles.

    "I am preparing for clay in Europe. It depends on how the situation is and if everything is under control or not," said Nadal.

    "I understood that it was much better for my body to train on a slow surface, which is less aggressive for the general well-being. Although that did not take away from me being able to play later in New York.

    "I do not know if I will play Rome or not. I await news of the new adapted calendar after the cancellation of Madrid and from there I will have to make decisions."

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