“A tradition unlike any other” has now become just like all the rest as The Masters joins the list of sporting events that have been affected by the coronavirus.
The Masters joins the likes of the NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, March Madness, and so many other events around the world that have fallen victim to this pandemic. The announcement that the first major championship on the golf calendar came on Friday morning.
The 2020 edition of The Masters from Augusta National Golf Club was scheduled for April 9-12.
The Masters has been postponed for now
Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, which has hosted The Masters since 1934, released a statement announcing the postponement of the season’s first major.
“On Wednesday, March 4, we issued a memo stating that our plans to host the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals had not changed. 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.
“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.
“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. Updates also will be posted to our website, Masters.com.
“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.”Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club
At this time, The Masters has not been rescheduled.
The PGA Tour has canceled events as well
The announcement that The Masters has been postponed came just a day after the PGA Tour announced it was canceling events as well. The full field of players, minus Louis Oosthuizen, who had withdrawn after a few holes, had already played the first round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass when the decision was made to cancel the remaining three rounds.
Originally, spectators were not going to be let into the famed Pete Dye course on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but play was going to continue. Following the actions of so many other sports organizations around the U.S., the decision was made to just stop the tournament.
The tour also announced the cancellations of the next three scheduled tournaments that were to lead into The Masters. The Valspar Championship, WGC-Match Play event, and Valero Texas Open have all been shut down and have not been rescheduled.
When was the last time The Masters wasn’t played?
2020 marks the first time since 1945 that The Masters will not take place.
First played in 1934, The Masters quickly became one of the premier golf events in the world. Hall of Famers Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen, and Byron Nelson were a few of the early winners of the tournament. As it came to be with many events back then, The Masters was shut down for a few years due to World War II. The tournament was not played from 1943-1945. Play resumed in 1946 with Herman Kaiser taking home the title of Masters champ.
The most recent winner was Tiger Woods, who won his fifth green jacket in 2019. Jack Nicklaus holds the record with six wins at The Masters.