The Masters postponed, Augusta hoping to reschedule
"We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date," says Augusta National
By Keith Jackson at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 13/03/20 9:44pm
The Masters has been postponed until later this year, officials at Augusta National have confirmed.
Tiger Woods was scheduled to begin the defence of his title on April 9, but the first major of the year has now become the latest big sporting event worldwide to be delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The news follows the cancellation of all PGA Tour events up to, and including, the Valero Texas Open, which was initially slated to be staged the week before the Masters, which tournament organisers hope can be rescheduled.
A statement released by Augusta National chairman, Fred Ridley, read: "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 Organisation, 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 recognise 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."
The PGA Tour's flagship event, The Players Championship, was abandoned after the first day, with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan declaring there was no chance of the event being rescheduled.
The United States Golf Association, meanwhile, have not yet come to a decision on whether to postpone any of their championships, including the US Open at Winged Foot in June.
A USGA statement read: "We have stablished an internal task force and are communicating on a regular basis with our peers in the golf community and the broader sports world as information on this evolving issue continues to be shared.
"Our leadership continues to follow current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation and will remain vigilant in working with local and state authorities to monitor the virus and its implications for the entire USGA community.
"We will take action in the event there are direct impacts to our people or our championships, including our qualifiers."