Canberra golfer Matthew Millar has backed the decision to postpone the Australian Open championship, saying it's the best way forward amid escalating coronavirus concerns in Victoria.
The 105th Australian Open - the fifth-oldest national championship in professional golf - was scheduled to take place at Melbourne's Kingston Heath course in November.
Health concerns and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to Golf Australia's decision to postpone the tournament and they're hopeful it can be played somewhere between January and March.
That means it's the first year since 1945 where the contest for the Stonehaven Cup has not been held.
Golf Australia also held concerns about not being able to attract a world-class field with the global calendar pushed back following the sport's shutdown.
Scheduling the championship close to the Victorian Open in February could help alleviate that issue and bring the world's best golfers back to Australia.
Millar skipped last year's Open to secure a spot on the Asian circuit and had been looking forward to making his return at his favourite course Kingston Heath. The 43-year-old has backed Golf Australia's decision and hopes to contest the Stonehaven Cup early next year.
"Definitely, I think [it was the right decision]. Kingston Heath is my favourite golf course and I've had some nice success there, but looking at what's going on around the world this is a little drop in the ocean compared to that," Millar said.
"Trying to make sure things are right for the future and keeping people healthy and safe is probably the best way forward.
"Most PGA tours around the world have had to endure it for a little while, though the PGA tour in America restarted with a few events as well as the European tour.
"We're probably a little bit more strict and invested in making sure we stamp it out. I fully support the decision although having said that, I love playing but I see the importance of it for sure."
Millar was hoping to play on the Japan Tour this year, where fellow Canberran Brendan Jones has won 15 events, but that has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first half of the tour in Japan was cancelled earlier this year and it was hoped play would resume on August 20.
But those plans are also in jeopardy due to the ongoing health and economic crisis, with only a handful of events now likely to take place across September and October.
Millar will entertain the prospect of playing Japan if events are held in consecutive weeks, otherwise the trip might not be worth it with two weeks of quarantine added to both sides.
"It makes it quite difficult. I'm not sure if we're allowed to travel there yet, plus you'd have to be in quaratine when you arrive and when you come back... so I'm not sure about Japan," Millar said.
"If they have four to six weeks in a row where I could play, I'd entertain the idea. But for one or two, or any weeks where they're spread out I don't think I'd bother this year.
"Personally, I think they'll just encounter more problems and be forced to start again in April. There's been a lot of cases in Tokyo and Osaka over the past few weeks, both are really big cities and hard to control it from there. It'll be a case of staying here and playing."
Millar is eyeing a few Pro AM events on the north coast of NSW, with tournaments taking place in Grafton, Yamba, Ocean Shores and Murwillumbah next month.
Eleven Pro AM events will then take place across NSW in September, with the Australasian Tour to start in October.
- With AAP