The Augusta National Golf Club introduced Wednesday that the 2020 Masters Tournament, postponed from its conventional April date to Nov. 12 to 15, shall be held with out patrons or friends in attendance. The choice was a response to the coronavirus pandemic and got here after many different fixtures of the boys’s skilled golf schedule, together with final week’s P.G.A. Championship, the primary main championship of this unconventional yr, beforehand have been performed with out spectators.
The Masters’ choice — the final of the key males’s tournaments to say it might proceed with out followers — might sign that the remaining tournaments this season will comply with go well with. The United States Golf Association introduced two weeks in the past that the United States Open, which shall be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., from Sept. 17 to 20, wouldn’t have followers in attendance. And the British Open was canceled earlier this yr.
The PGA Tour stated that its occasions is not going to host followers by means of the tip of this present season, which concludes on Sept. 7. The first two occasions of the following PGA Tour season, the Safeway Open and Sanderson Farms Championship, have additionally already introduced that they won’t have followers on website throughout their September and October dates.
“Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts,” stated Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National. “Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.”
Patrons is the popular time period of a membership beholden to many traditions that distinguish it from different males’s golf tournaments. Clifford Roberts, a co-founder of the membership and its chairman from 1931 to 1976, prioritized the so-called patron expertise from the second the Masters Tournament was first held in 1934. Many of these preliminary issues for spectators, just like the minute consideration to sight strains, reasonably priced concessions costs and on-course scoreboards, nonetheless persist on the Masters.
“Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing,” Ridley added. “The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special. Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the Tournament in a safe manner.”
Few different golf tournaments have a extensively identified phrase to explain the fan presence, however the “Augusta roars” — the resounding crowd response that echoes across the course — have grow to be synonymous with the Masters maybe as a lot because the blooming azaleas. Peter Kostis, who broadcast the match with CBS for many years, contemplated whether or not the membership would break with custom and alter the course’s arrange, which is often specified by such a manner as to impress these crowd reactions.
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Speaking at this week’s Wyndham Championship, the golfer Brandt Snedeker, who has three top-10 leads to 11 Masters begins, described how spectators outline the match’s famed environment.
“Part of the allure and majesty of Augusta National is the patrons. You have that electricity from the first moment on Thursday morning to the last putt goes in on Sunday night on every hole,” he stated. “It’s not just on the back nine; it’s on every hole.”
Augusta National additionally canceled this yr’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship, two occasions performed round Masters week annually.
The membership clarified that tickets for the 2020 match could be honored for 2021’s occasion, scheduled for subsequent April. The ticketing course of for the 2021 match had additionally already commenced, and the membership stated it might be speaking immediately with ticket holders and candidates for subsequent yr’s match.
The membership didn’t announce who, particularly, would fall outdoors the definition of “patrons and guests” and be permitted on the grounds throughout match week. The participant subject for the 2020 Masters was already finalized and closed the week earlier than the unique April date.