The Masters postponed due to coronavirus

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Masters during the final round Sunday, April 14, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Masters during the final round Sunday, April 14, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

The Masters tournament has been postponed because of the spread of the coronavirus, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley announced Friday. No rescheduled date was announced, but Ridley said he hopes the tournament can be held later in the year.

The news came one day after the PGA Tour canceled The Players Championship after one round and announced that its next three tournaments also would be canceled. Those moves took the professional golf circuit up to the Masters on April 9-12.

Ridley and Augusta National issued a statement March 4 that stated their plans to hold the Masters, National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals while continuing to monitor the spread of COVID-19.

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“Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances,” Ridley said in Friday’s announcement to postpone all three events. “… Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope is postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”

The statement continued: “We will continue to work with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the Governor, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the City of Augusta and all other local authorities. We are grateful to all of these entities for their exceptional efforts and guidance.

“We recognize this decision will affect many people, including our loyal patrons. Your patience as we make every effort to communicate effectively and efficiently is appreciated, and we will share any additional information as soon as it becomes available. …

“As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we seek your understanding of this decision and know you share our concern given these trying times. Thank you for your faithful support.”

The Masters, golf’s first major championship of the year, is conducted by the Augusta National Golf Club and is not affiliated with the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, said on Thursday that if the Masters went on as scheduled 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 of cancellations, 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 has been played every year since 1945. It was canceled from 1943-45 because of World War II.

“I want my parents to stay safe. I want my immediate family to stay safe, all my friends, and healthy. In the grand scheme of things, getting a few golf tournaments canceled, postponed or suspended is really not a big deal at all,” golfer Justin Thomas told reporters from The Players Championship.

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.