Golf fans have been eagerly anticipating this upcoming week. Tiger Woods and the other top golfers in the world will gather in Augusta, Georgia this week to play in The Masters, seven months after it was originally scheduled. But it’s 2020. Tournament officials are expecting the tournament to go on as planned, but external forces not in play during the event’s traditional spring schedule could dramatically affect the tournament schedule this coming week.
COVID-19 postpones The Masters
Flashback to spring. March Madness is in full swing. While watching countless hours of college basketball, CBS plays one commercial after another promoting The Masters. Jim Nantz’s soothing voice describes the ornate azaleas and dogwoods adorning the holes. He finishes with, “A tournament unlike any other. The Masters.”
Unfortunately, 2020 has been a year unlike any other. There was no March Madness. There were no commercials for The Masters. And ultimately, there was no Masters.
On April 6, just three days before its scheduled start, The Masters officials announced due to the pandemic, the event would be rescheduled for the first time in its history to November 12-15.
The Masters rescheduled for November
Back in March and April when Masters officials were deliberating on a time to reschedule the prestigious major golf tournament, there were multiple factors taken into consideration. The main one and most uncertain was timing of a safe return to action.
At the time, the entire sports calendar was blank. All sports leagues and events were trying to assess the ever-growing virus outbreak and determine when it might be safe for both competitors and fans to return. Eventually, the NBA concluded it would be safe to return in late July. MLB shortened its season and returned around the same time. All of them returned without fans.
When Masters officials made the call to postpone the tournament, they determined July in Georgia would be less than ideal. The event was rescheduled to November. On August 12, it was announced, like other sports, it would be without spectators.
Tropical storm could affect tournament
While November makes complete sense as far as temperature is concerned, there’s an additional meteorological phenomenon that can occur during that same timeframe and can also directly affect Georgia. Hurricanes. Hurricane season traditionally spans from June 1 to November 30.
It is, however, 2020, and, unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been anything traditional about hurricane season this year. This year’s hurricane season is tied with 2005 for the most active season on record with 28 named storms. As a result, it’s only the second time in history officials have resorted to using the Greek alphabet to name storms.
The latest storm is Eta, which was named on November 1, and was at one point a Category 4 storm as it smashed into Central America. It has since weakened in the Caribbean but forecasters are predicting it will restrengthen and head north. Projections indicate it could be near Florida early next week, and then could drift further north by later in the week.
It’s still way too early even for the weather experts to know whether or not the storm will affect The Masters. But based on everything that’s happened so far in 2020, no one should be surprised if it ends up near Augusta by the end of next week and has some effect on the tournament.