(Reuters) – Colin Montgomerie has welcomed the return of golf’s European Tour in July amid the COVID-19 pandemic but says he feels sorry for younger players due to the less lucrative schedule.
Golf’s calendar has been decimated by the novel coronavirus outbreak, with three of the sport’s four majors rescheduled and the British Open cancelled.
The European Tour, suspended since March, will resume with the British Masters on July 22 as part of a six-tournament run in the United Kingdom and each event will have a prize pot of less than 1 million pounds ($1.26 million).
“It’s sensible. I know the prize money isn’t what they’d expect but it gets the membership playing golf,” Montgomerie, the winner of 31 European Tour titles, told the BBC.
“It’s a total reset and I feel for the young guys coming through who thought they were going to be playing for millions. It’ll take a few years before we get back to those times.”
Montgomerie, 56, said the financial impact of the pandemic would be worse than when the Tour faced hardships over a decade ago.
“This’ll be much worse. So I can understand the Tour wanting to get it done in an economic sense,” he added.
($1 = 0.7945 pounds)
(This story was refiled to complete headline)
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)