This year’s Masters tournament, the season’s first golf Major, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley announced on Friday.
“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters tournament,” Ridley said in a statement.
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The event has been delayed, not cancelled, so defending champion Tiger Woods, who is battling a back issue, may get the chance to capture a 16th Major at the famed course at some future date.
The outbreak, which has prompted a virtual shutdown of American sport, also forced Ridley to postpone the Augusta National women’s amateur and youth 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,” Ridley said. s“We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters tournament and our amateur events at some later date,” he said.
Augusta National typically closes soon after hosting the world’s top players, reopening later each year, so the possibility remains that it could be rescheduled later in the year, potentially after the 2019-20 USPGA season is complete given the schedule already booked through August.