This year’s 149th Open Championship has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament, which was due to take place in July at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, will now be hosted by the venue in 2021.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “We have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.”
It is the first time The Open has been cancelled since World War II (1940-45).
The Open is the only one of the four men’s annual golf majors to be cancelled in 2020.
In March, both the Masters and the PGA Championship were postponed but the US Open is still set to be played from 18-21 June at Winged Foot in New York.
However, the United States Golf Association (USGA) is expected to announce a decision on staging the tournament soon.
The 149th Open will now be played at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021, meaning the R&A can keep the 150th Open at St Andrews in Scotland, from 10-17 July 2022.
In a statement on the R&A website, Slumbers added; “We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart.
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
“We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.”
Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who won last year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, tweeted: “Obviously I’m disappointed that I won’t get to defend the Open Championship this year but I feel the R&A have made the right decisions based on people’s health and safety. See you all in Royal St George’s in 2021.”
The R&A said all tickets bought for this year’s event will be transferred to next year’s event, with full refunds for those people who are no longer able to attend the event.
Royal St George’s has hosted The Open 14 times, most recently in 2011, when Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won the event for the first time.
The Open, which started in 1860, was also previously not held from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.
The only other previous cancellation came in 1871 when no trophy was available because Tom Morris Jr was allowed to keep the Challenge Belt for winning the tournament three times in a row.
The Claret Jug, the current prize for the champion golfer of the year, was introduced in 1872.