After some earlier Tournament cancellations on various tours worldwide, global professional golf to a virtual standstill in the last 24 hours with significant announcements from the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, and the Augusta National Golf Club.
On late Thursday night messages were distributed by the PGA TOUR and LPGA TOURs indicating a stop in play for the events they operate on various levels. The Augusta National Golf Club followed with their own on Friday morning.
The message from the PGA TOUR:
It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of THE PLAYERS Championship.
We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open.
We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”
Similarly the LPGA Tour issued their own statement in regards to their main tour and the feeder Symetra Tour:
“Today, the LPGA informed its players that in an effort to minimize risks with the global outbreak of COVID-19 and following the California Government’s directive regarding events, the next three events on the LPGA Tour schedule are postponed: the Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix, Ariz., which was scheduled to take place March 19-22; the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif., which was scheduled to take place March 26-29; and the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, Calif., which was scheduled for April 2-5. The plan is to reschedule these events for later dates in the 2020 season.
The upcoming two events on the Symetra Tour that were set to take place in California were also postponed (the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Beaumont, Calif., from March 27-29 and the Windsor Golf Classic in Windsor, Calif., from April 2-4).
“This is a difficult situation and as we navigate these uncertain times, we appreciate the support of all those involved with the LPGA. I am fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule, especially our first major, the ANA Inspiration,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “Our thoughts are with all of those around the world affected by this virus. And on a personal level, it pains me to see the impact of this health crisis on our athletes, our sponsors and our fans. That said, I know keeping our LPGA family safe, and all those who follow us safe, has to be my top priority.
We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation with our global health partners and are planning for different scenarios for future LPGA events should they be necessary.”
For many, an even bigger blow came on Friday morning when Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley shared that they had decided to postpone The Masters, along with two other ancillary events.
He issued this statement:
Statement from Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club:
“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. Updates also will be posted to our website, Masters.com.
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.”