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Golf's Masters joins list of postponed sporting events

(Shawn Carpenter CC BY-SA 2.0)
13th March, 2020
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The 2020 Masters has been postponed in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.

Augusta National Golf Club has announced the 2020 Masters will be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley issued a statement on Friday that revealed the Masters and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur would be held at a later date, with some predicting that could be in September.

“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,” Ridley wrote in a statement.

“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.”

It is the first interruption to the Masters since World War II, when the tournament was cancelled from 1943-1945.

A possible date for the Masters to resume is in early September, when conditions and weather are similar to April in the southeast of the US.

The US PGA Tour’s Tour Championship is slated for August 27-30 in Atlanta, Georgia, only two hours’ drive from Augusta in the same state.

Some are predicting it could be held the week after the season-ending Tour Championship.

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The news follows the US PGA Tour’s cancellation of the prestigious Players Championship, which had already started round one, as well as the next three tournaments leading up to the Masters.

US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a press conference on Friday morning that he hoped to resume the PGA Tour after the Masters, with the first tournament after that being the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, South Carolina on April 16-19.

“We have to start working very closely with our friends in South Carolina and beyond to get ourselves ready to be playing the tournament, and we’re going to operate as if we are and have been operating as if we are from this point forward,” Monahan said.

Marc Leishman, who was one of five Australian golfers eligible for the Masters, said he respected Augusta National’s decision.

“The PGA Tour and organisations like Augusta National have our best interests at heart,” Leishman told AAP on Friday.

“You don’t want to take any unnecessary risks, especially with what other major sports have done in suspending big events.”

Leishman was to be joined at the Masters by countrymen Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, as well as Jason Day, Cameron Smith and amateur Lukas Michel.

Michel was to make his major debut having won the US Mid-Amateur championship to become eligible for the Masters and the US Open.

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Day was also upset by the cancellation, but was looking at the bright side that a month without golf could help rest his injured back.

The former world No.1 underwent an epidural and Rhizotomy last week on his chronically-injured back.

“I think right now everyone is nervous about what has been going around, but I think it’s the necessary steps that need to be taken in regards to the safety and health of not only players, but just the general population; I think Augusta made the right decision in that,” Day said.

“But in the meantime, it’s nice to be able to rest my back, which is a positive out of everything.

“But obviously that’s the least of my worries right now. I sit and think about all the people that are struggling health-wise.”

© AAP