Masters postponed over coronavirus outbreak, golf club announces

Augusta National Golf Club announced Friday the Masters Tournament will be postponed over the coronavirus outbreak, following in the footsteps of several professional sports leagues across the world.

Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred S. Ridley said plans to have the event, along with the August National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, changed after learning of new information and expert analysis.

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“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,” Ridley said in a statement.

“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.

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“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.”

The Masters was set to take place from April 9 to the 12 with Tiger Woods as the defending champion.

The PGA Tour announced Thursday that it would cancel The Players’ Championship and several other events leading up to the Masters.

Tiger Woods was the defending Masters champion (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Tiger Woods was the defending Masters champion (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The PGA Tour initially planned to play The Players' Championship without fans, at which point Rory McIlroy urged all golfers to get tested for coronavirus.

"My mother’s got respiratory issues and I certainly don’t want to get something and pass it on to her and all of a sudden there’s some sort of complication," he told reporters, according to Reuters. It’s in its infancy here in the United States, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

"It’s scary time, and I think that the PGA Tour have made a step in the right direction and I think we just have to play it by ear and take it day by day."

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It’s unclear when the Masters will be played. As of Friday morning, Georgia had 32 coronavirus cases in the state. There had been at least 1,600 cases reported across the U.S. with at least 41 deaths.