AUGUSTA, Ga. (UPI) — Augusta National Golf Club announced Wednesday that this year’s Masters Tournament will be held without spectators or guests because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley issued a statement on the decision, saying the risks of having fans in attendance “are simply too significant to overcome.”
The 2020 Masters Tournament was originally scheduled for April 9-12 but was postponed until mid-November due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic,” Ridley said Wednesday. “As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.
“Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.”
2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson said he “can’t fathom” not having spectators at this year’s event.
“I really can’t fathom it, but that being said, I can’t fathom not having the Masters Tournament this year,” Johnson told ESPN. “It’s unfortunate. … We would love to have fans out there. There’s an entertainment value in our product, in our game, in our sport that’s immense, and it’s fun knowing there’s energy out there.
“You want that energy. … The relation there with the fans is much more intimate, and I want it back sooner than later.”
The PGA Tour is in its 10th week after the coronavirus shut down sports across the global for more than three months. The PGA Championship — won by 23-year-old Collin Morikawa on Sunday — was the first major since golf returned and was played without fans at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Next month’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot also will take place without fans. The Open Championship — initially set for July 16-19 — canceled its 2020 tournament.
Reporting by Connor Grott
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