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The Masters postponed, citing ‘risks associated with the widespread coronavirus’

The 2020 Masters Tournament has been postponed. The event had been scheduled to take place from April 9-12 at Augusta National. However, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, tournament officials decided to delay the event without giving a new date.

As sporting events around the world cancelled or postponed this week, The Masters reportedly reviewed multiple contingency plans Thursday in response to the coronavirus. Members of Augusta National considered hosting the tournament without spectators. However, in the wake of multiple sports leagues canceling competitions, and this weekend’s Players Championship ending after just one round, the Masters ultimately made the safe (and correct) decision.

In a statement, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said the decision, “undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances.”

He continued:

Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.

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 this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.

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.

The Masters is one of the most coveted tickets in sports and the galleries are often comprised of people traveling from all over the world. The field is an international mix from multiple continents. This week, several European players struggled with the logistical decision of staying home or returning home knowing that they may not be able to travel back to the United States for the Masters because of the travel ban. Austrian pro Bernd Wiesberger, keeping his priorities correct, said he would get home from Florida to help in whatever way he could and wouldn’t worry if it meant he missed the Masters. It’s not a priority in a pandemic, but all these considerations undoubtedly came into play as they reviewed contingency plans.

With still four weeks to go until the first tee shot, there was some time to make a decision but based on the progression of the week and the way the PGA Tour dragged its feet cancelling The Plays, the possibility of an imminent postponement or cancellation increased with each hour. Rickie Fowler said it felt “inevitable” based on the way things were moving and Justin Thomas said he thought there “was no way” they would play the Masters as scheduled. It came just 12 hours after the PGA Tour cancelled The Players and all remaining events leading up to Masters week, which is not under the purview of the Tour but rather Augusta National alone.

In addition to the Masters, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, in just its second year, and the annual Drive, Chip, and Putt competition for youths were also postponed.

Prior to the decision, tickets to this year’s Masters had been dropping precipitously. (Relatively speaking — a one day ticket cost roughly $1,000 as opposed to three or four times as much.) As of now, it’s unclear when or if that ticket will be valid. Augusta National typically closes in late spring and reopens in October, meaning the Masters could be held in autumn if it does get rescheduled.

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