Michel could delay pro switch for Masters

The 2020 Masters has been postponed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis but Australia's Lukas Michel may hold off turning professional to be able to play.

14-Mar-2020 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press

Australian amateur Lukas Michel says he is likely to delay turning professional by several months in order to play a postponed Masters at Augusta National.

Michel had already travelled to the US from Melbourne for a month of practice leading up to his Masters debut before Augusta National announced on Friday that the year's first major would be postponed "until a later date" due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Michel became eligible for the Masters when he became the first Australian and international player to win the US Mid-Amateur Championship last year.

Michel's victory at the prestigious United States Golf Association tournament came with an invitation to the Masters and an exemption to the US Open, which at this stage should still go ahead in June at New York's famed Winged Foot.

"Yeah, it was obviously disappointing but it's the right decision as they have our best interests at heart," Michel told AAP.

Michel needs to remain an amateur golfer in order to use his exemptions to the Masters and the US Open. It is the first interruption to the Masters since World War II, when the tournament was cancelled from 1943-1945.

A possible date for the Masters to resume is in early September, when conditions and weather are similar to April in the southeast of the US.

The US PGA Tour's Tour Championship is slated for August 27-30 in Atlanta, Georgia, only two hours' drive from Augusta in the same state. Some are predicting it could be held the week after the season-ending Tour Championship.

Michel was planning on turning professional after the US Open, which concludes on June 21. But the 25-year-old says he may have to turn professional after the Masters in order to take up a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity.

"We will have to see when it will be held; I read somewhere it could be September or October. It will be interesting to see if that is even possible with the weather at that time of year," Michel said.

"I was looking at turning pro around that time and trying my hand at a couple of qualifying schools for the European or Japan tours, but I think I would hold off; it's a once in a lifetime experience so giving up an extra three months of being a pro isn't a big deal."


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