The European Tour season will start a few weeks sooner than originally expected.
Instead of kicking things off with the Betfred British Masters on July 22, the European Tour will instead have back-to-back events in Austria.
The Austrian Open will be played July 9-12 at Diamond Country Club, followed by the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal, which will run Wednesday to Saturday, from July 15-18.
Both tournaments will count toward both the European Tour and Challenge Tour -- the European Tour's version of the Korn Ferry Tour -- rankings and each have prize funds of €500,000.
The European Tour says the season will fully resumes with the Betfred British Masters from July 22-25, but this offers an opportunity for players to start earning Official World Golf Ranking points two weeks sooner than originally planned. The Official World Golf Ranking announced it would unfreeze the ranking with the resumption of the PGA Tour season. With a six-week disadvantage against the PGA Tour schedule, the European Tour was able to create these events to give opportunities to help preserve a player's ranking.
“We are pleased to announce the resumption of the Challenge Tour season with the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club and the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal, two dual ranking events which will take place in consecutive weeks in July," said Jamie Hodges, head of the Challenge Tour.
Like the European Tour with its six-week UK Swing, the Challenge Tour will seek to cluster tournaments in regions and nations for several weeks at a time.
“Part of this strategy is to play, wherever possible, in clusters in one territory and we are therefore grateful to the Austrian Golf Federation and the two venues, Diamond Country Club and Golf Club Adamstal for their support in making these events happen," Hodges said.
The Challenge Tour will be resuming after a five-month layoff, following after Christian Bezuidenhout's win in the Dimension Data Pro-Am to conclude three consecutive weeks in South Africa at the start of the 2020 Challenge Tour season.