E.A. Sports Today

Tour schedule reacts

Coronavirus response impacting Calhoun County Golf Tour schedule; Gadsden moving, County likely to, ACC considering it
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
The dominoes that were the first couple tournament of the Calhoun County golf schedule started falling as the novel coronavirus started moving across the country. They fell a lot faster after the cancelation of this year’s Sunny King Charity Classic was announced.
The first three tournaments on the schedule, including the first two points events, already have been postponed. Three more were either changing their date or considering it Thursday.
The Gadsden CC Invitational, originally scheduled for May 15-17, has moved to Aug. 14-16, the week after the Calhoun County Championship. The Wilfred Galbraith Anniston CC Invitational “most likely” will slide into the original Sunny King Classic dates if current social distancing restrictions have not been eased. The County will remain the final event of the schedule but could move to the last week in August to accommodate the Gadsden change.
“We’ve kind of been in limbo with everything,” Gadsden CC pro Matt Ganshaw said. “We felt being so close it’s better to be safe than sorry, go ahead and postpone it and hopefully things will have died down even more by (the new date).

“We’re not totally locked into that date. If another works better for the Tour, we would be flexible.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic the County Tour had a symmetry of events every two weeks throughout the summer. If earlier postponements are rescheduled, the lineup could be squeezed into consecutive dates. If the football schedule is impacted by coronavirus concerns, the golf season could be extended into the fall and relieve some of that pressure.
County Tour director Jeremy McGatha is adamant the County Championship be the final points event of the Player of the Year series. To allow Gadsden to fit into the rotation, the Aug. 8-9 County would move to Aug. 29-30 – the week after the Buddy Moore Charity Tournament.
“But we will remain flexible depending on how other stuff works out,” he said.
Cider Ridge is contemplating an August rescheduling of the Oxford City Championship and the Pine Hill Invitational is the last weekend of July.
Anniston CC pro and general manager Steven Driggers said if people are playing golf the club will play its invitational. If social distancing restrictions aren’t lifted, though, the likelihood of moving its date is “better than 50 percent” and the “most likely” new date would be the Sunny King’s July 10-12 slot.
“Of course, that’s all depending on what Gov. Ivey does as far as opening the state back up,” Driggers said. “If she continues to have the stay-at-home order in place I don’t think we could realistically do it (on the original date). I’m optimistic she’s going to do it, but we don’t know.”
Because of the uncertainty, the club isn’t taking entries for the tournament right now. In the meantime, Driggers is considering contingencies for single-rider carts, which likely would limit the field to 70 players to be played in two waves. And then there’s the matter of the Friday night social event.
“That depends on what the Governor allows us to do,” Driggers said. “If we can’t host that party is that a deal breaker? Probably not, but it’s something that adds to our event and we certainly would want to have it. Right now, it’s all up in the air, unfortunately.”

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