COLCHESTER touring professional Dale Whitnell says he cannot wait to return to European Tour action.

The 31-year-old is preparing to get back to action after the Tour announced plans for the resumption of the 2020 season, following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tour will return behind closed doors next month with a new six-week ‘UK Swing’ six-tournament competition, starting with the British Masters on July 22.

And Forrester Park pro Whitnell, who gained his Tour card last year, is raring to go after the enforced break.

Whitnell said: "Everyone will be chomping at the bit to get back out there.

"It's great news that the Tour is back up and running.

"They aren't guaranteed to go ahead yet but there are plans in place now.

"We've seen that football has relaxed quarantine measures in place for players flying in and I think it's likely it'll be similar with golf.

"I still have to get into the events but I think I have a pretty good chance of getting into at least one or two of them.

"The UK Swing is a great format and it's the first time for many years that there will be six big events in the UK on the European Tour.

"It'll be lovely to be a part of that and not having to get on a plane and fly to an event.

"It'll be great to get out on the Tour and they've done a fantastic job to get it back on, because it must have been a logistical nightmare to organise."

Whitnell is hoping to compete in the Betfred British Masters, the first UK Swing tournament due to take place.

It will be hosted by Ryder Cup hero Lee Westwood and played at Close House, near Newcastle.

"It'll be a bit of a waiting game and it will depend on how many enter," said Whitnell, who recently hit a hole in one on the second hole at Forrester Park GC.

"I'll prepare to play and if not, I'll play in other mini tours - anything to keep competitive."

When the European Tour resumes next month, all tournaments will be subject to stringent safety and testing protocols.

Former Walker Cup player Whitnell said: "Players and caddies will tested before events and it will be played behind closed doors, so I can't see how it would be a problem.

"I've played in front of a large number of people and I've also played in tournaments when there's been hardly anyone.

"I don't think the lack of spectators will bother me but it may have more of an impact on the top-50 players, who are more used to playing in front of big crowds.

"It might play to my advantage."

Whitnell had been practicing at home during the lockdown period but is now back on the course, following the easing of Government restrictions.

"Golf being back in general is great news," added Whitnell, who has been practising at Crondon Park GC, in Stock.

"It's been very popular since coming back and a lot of clubs have created a lot of new memberships.

"It's been nice to get to the range and hit some balls and go and play with friends.

"You can now play three or four ball which is nice and golf is a massive social game."