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Coronavirus: Augusta National announce postponement of all Masters week events

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The Masters has been postponed due to the coronavirus

The Masters has been postponed due to the coronavirus

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The Masters has been postponed due to the coronavirus

Augusta National have announced that next month's Masters Tournament and all the events of Masters week have been postponed due to the coronavirus.

The prestigious club had announced on Wednesday that the tournament, which was scheduled for April 9-12, would be proceeding as planned, but the rapidly changing situation has forced the board to postpone the tournament.

Reports suggested the Augusta board were exploring the possibility of playing the tournament without any spectators or practice rounds and cancelling the Par 3 Contest, but now it has become more than that.

The news comes hot on the heels of the PGA Tour's decision to cancel the remainder of the Players Championship in Florida, as well as the next three events on the schedule.

With the postponement, the Masters becomes the first Major to be suspended since 1945, although it is likely that it won't be the only of golf's top four tournaments to be affected this year by Covid-19.

However, chairman Fred Ridley says the club are hopeful the tournament will be played at a later date and that it hasn't been cancelled as of yet.

In a statement, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said: "On Wednesday, March 4, we issued a memo stating that our plans to host the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals had not changed.

"Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances.

"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 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.

"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.

"As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we seek your understanding of this decision and know you share our concern given these trying times. Thank you for your faithful support."

As it stands, the next tournament not to be affected is the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 16.

Belfast Telegraph