McIlroy said Masters should be played with no spectators

The Masters will be the next professional golf event scheduled after the PGA Tour canceled The Players Championship after one round and its next three events leading into Augusta due to the coronavirus.

Rory McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked player, said if the Masters goes on as scheduled on April 9-12 it should be done with no spectators.

“I don't see how they can let spectators in if they plan to play at this point,” McIlroy said after his Thursday round at The Players and before the announcement of the canceled events.

In its announcement, the PGA Tour said: It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open. We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”

The Masters is not conducted by the PGA Tour but rather the membership of Augusta National Golf Club. Earlier this month, before the continued spread of COVID-19 and the massive shutdown of sports events across all levels this week, chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement that Augusta National is in touch with “a wide range of authorities from the World Health Organization to Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to local officials.”

While the tournament, and associated events, are still planned, Ridley said at the time: “We will continue to review the available facts and information with the experts and authorities, establish precautions and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of all involved.”

Concerns about the coronavirus have resulted in the cancellation of many events and large gatherings. The AJC will monitor these announcements and keep you informed about any postponements, rescheduling and cancellations, but it’s best to check with venues or event organizers before making plans to attend.