In a normal year, this would be about the time that the golf world would be gearing up for the game’s oldest major, The Open Championship. But 2020 certainly hasn’t been a normal year. While the other three majors, The Masters, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship are still on the calendar, this year’s edition of The Open has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
However, in an effort to still contribute something to the season, the R&A has put together a unique version of The Open Championship that will see the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy battling it out with all-time greats such as Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
So exactly how does “The Open for The Ages” work?
What is ‘The Open for The Ages?’
The 2020 edition of The Open Championship was originally set to take place at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England, from July 16-19. Unfortunately, after numerous discussions, the R&A officially canceled the event back in April. But in its place comes “The Open for The Ages,” a virtual tournament that will feature some of the game’s greatest players of the last 50 years competing at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“The Open for The Ages” will be played using edited archive footage that will feature modern graphics and all-new commentary. Martin Slumber, the chief executive of the R&A, summed up the tournament in a brief statement. (h/t TheOpen.com)
“Golf is one of the very few sports where this concept can be created and brought to life.
“The way in which the sport is filmed allows us a truly unique opportunity to re-imagine history and bring together the greatest players from many different eras on a scale which has not been done before, either in golf or in other sports.”R&A chief executive Martin Slumber on “The Open for The Ages”
So who will be joining Tiger Woods at “The Open for The Ages?”
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus lead a star-studded field
Tiger Woods certainly won’t be the only winner of The Open Championship in the field at “The Open for The Ages.” Nor will he be the player that’s won the most Claret Jugs. Five-time Open champion Tom Watson will be in the field as well, as will 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, who won two of his three Open titles at St. Andrews. So prime Tiger vs. prime Jack? Yeah, that’ll work.
Also included will be current world number one Rory McIlroy, who won at Royal Liverpool in 2014, and three-time winners Sir Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.
How the winner of ‘The Open for The Ages’ is determined and how to watch
According to The Open.com, the winner of “The Open for The Ages” will be determined “by a data model developed by NTT DATA, which combines the votes of over 10,000 fans with player career statistics to calculate the victorious golfer.” It would certainly be interesting to see how that fan vote turned out, wouldn’t it? But regardless of who emerges victorious, whether it’s Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson, this is truly a unique event that should be very entertaining to watch.
As for how to actually watch it, The Open’s YouTube and Facebook channels will be featuring highlights and leaderboards over the first three days (July 16-18), which will lead into Sunday’s final round, a three-hour broadcast that will air on the aforementioned channels as well as Sky Sports in England, TV Asahi in Japan, and the Golf Channel in the U.S. beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. So for those in the States that are used to getting up early to watch The Open Championship in a normal year, things won’t be that different.