Chalk up another major sporting event falling victim to the COVID-19 pandemic: The Masters has officially been postponed. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said it’s his hope that golf’s first major of the year can be played at a later date.
The Masters has been held every year in Augusta, Georgia, since 1934 – the three exceptions being 1943-1945 because of World War II. The tournament has occurred in either March or April in each contested year, and has traditionally taken place during the second week of April.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy has been the golf betting favorite each week he’s teed it up in 2020, and that was true for the Masters. The Northern Irishman was at 8/1 to win his first green jacket and complete the career grand slam.
Spain’s Jon Rahm was next at 12/1, and Justin Thomas third at 14/1. Former world No. 1s Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson rounded out the top five at 16/1.
Five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods was at 20/1, his line lengthening in recent weeks due to him sitting out several tournaments because of ongoing back pain.
The Masters gave no timetable as to when the tournament might be rescheduled. With an already packed Tour schedule, it will most certainly be difficult.
On Thursday night following round one of The Players Championship, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced golf’s “fifth major” was another major sporting being canned. The next three events – Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Valero Texas Open – have additionally been canceled.
As for The Players, golf’s richest prize with a purse of $15 million, half of the cash will be divvied up among the field. That comes out to $52,083 per player in unofficial earnings.
Hideki Matsuyama, who shot an opening round 63 (-9), was obviously upset. “Yeah, um, I totally shot a 63, but they ripped up the scorecards and erased it.”
As for the Masters, Rahm said, “I think there’s bigger problems in the world right now than whether we play the Masters or not. It’s as simple as that.”
“Stay safe friends,” said Ian Poulter. “Let’s hope this will pass soon without affecting too many more people.”
“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,” Augusta Chairman Ridley said in a statement.
The three PGA Tour events and the Masters aren’t the only golf tournaments being pushed aside because of the global outbreak.
European Tour: Kenya Open, Hero Indian Open, Maybank Championship, China Open
LPGA Tour: Volvik Founders Cup, ANA Inspiration, Honda LPGA Thailand, HSBC Women’s World Championship, Blue Bay LPGA
PGA Champions: Rapiscan Systems Classic
The NCAA has canceled all winter and spring championships, including the men’s and women’s golf championships. Both title tournaments were to be played at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. There have been nine reported coronavirus cases in Arizona.