Augusta National announces no spectators at this year’s Masters

FILE - In this April 11, 2019, file photo, the flag on the 13th hole blows in the wind during the first round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Augusta National decided Friday, March 13, 2020, to postpone the Masters because of the spread of the coronavirus. Club chairman Fred Ridley says he hopes postponing the event puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its other two events at some later date. Ridley did not say when it would be held.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Fil)
FILE - In this April 11, 2019, file photo, the flag on the 13th hole blows in the wind during the first round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Augusta National decided Friday, March 13, 2020, to postpone the Masters because of the spread of the coronavirus. Club chairman Fred Ridley says he hopes postponing the event puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its other two events at some later date. Ridley did not say when it would be held.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Fil)

Credit: David J. Phillip

Credit: David J. Phillip

There will be no Tiger Roar echoing through the pine trees and azaleas at Augusta National this year.

The 2020 Masters Tournament will be held without spectators, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley announced Wednesday. The event, now scheduled for Nov. 9-15, was postponed from its traditional April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The enthusiam for Tiger Woods, who won his fifth Masters title last year, and other golfers will be gone. The major tournament will join the quiet of other professional golf events held since June where the chirping of birds and the sometimes audible - and profane - utterance following a wayward shot can be heard on television.

The announcement from Ridley read: “Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic. As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.

“Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.

“Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

“We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event.”

All 2020 ticket holders will be guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 Masters. Augusta National will communicate directly with all ticket holders and 2021 ticket applicants in September.

“It’s going to be different,” 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “It won’t be the most ideal situation. There’s something to be said about specifically the back side on Sunday with fans and the roar and the drama that ensues. But it is still Augusta National, it’s still the Masters. We’re going to show up. And there’s still a distinct element that TV can provide. I’ve always loved watching the Masters as a kid, or even now, it’s still special golf. It’s not going to be the same but as of now, what is really the same?”

The Masters was the final of golf’s major tournaments to announce it will be held without fans. The PGA Championship last week was the first and there will also be no fans at the U.S. Open in September. The British Open has previously been canceled. The PGA Tour resumed play without spectators in June and will through the playoffs, which culminate with the Tour Championship in Atlanta in September.

“I think it will be hugely different,” Brandt Snedeker told reporters in North Carolina at the Wyndham Championship. “Part of the allure and kind of majesty of Augusta National is the patrons. You have that electricity from the first moment on Thursday morning to the last putt goes in on Sunday night on every hole. It’s not just on the back nine, it’s on every hole.”