Golf Australia has regrettably cancelled the 2021 Australian Junior Interstate Teams Matches and the Australian Interstate Teams Matches, both scheduled for the coming months.
Because of the ongoing volatility of COVID-19, subsequent border rules and Golf Australia’s priority on player well-being, it was determined there were no viable alternatives.
Golf Australia’s high performance general manager Brad James said: “Our duty-of-care responsibilities, particularly in the event of a COVID outbreak and/or changes in bio-security requirements or restrictions in regard to quarantining and travel weighed heavily on our decision.
“A series of legal and welfare risks would have emerged had Golf Australia and team managers been required to assume responsibility for minors for extended periods of time in the event of snap closures of state borders,” he said.
“The potential for this situation was something we felt uncomfortable about – for the players, the officials and for Golf Australia.”
Various alternatives were considered, but none were considered suitable.
Golf Australia’s events and operations general manager Therese Magdulski said: “We discussed playing the event virtually or continuing the event with fewer teams competing. However, it was felt these options compromised the event and the playing experience for team members.
“Securing dates for later in the year was also challenging given the current events schedule, as well as the ongoing uncertainty around the pandemic.
“We’ll continue to conduct our individual national championships, including the Australian Junior Amateur in April at Gold Creek Golf Club in Canberra, as players attend these events of their own accord and the duty of care considerations are somewhat different.
“It is disappointing for intended host clubs Queanbeyan and Bonnie Doon, both of which have been very patient as we worked through the situation. But we are hopeful we may be able to return to their facilities at a later opportunity.”
The Interstate events are important chances for players to represent their state, therefore it was a difficult decision to make. They have long and storied histories and the 2021 events were to usher in a new era of men and women playing at the same venue in combined teams.
While this new format will now be delayed a year, Golf Australia remains excited for its debut in 2022 for both junior and open-age players.