The Augusta National Golf Club announced on Friday that it had postponed the Masters Tournament.
The Masters Tournament became the final event on the major professional sports landscape to postpone the April 9-12 date because of the coronavirus.
Just two hours after PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that The Players would be canceled, Augusta National sent a statement by chairman Fred Ridley that the Masters, the Augusta National Women’s Invitational (April 1-4) and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals (April 5) will be postponed to an undetermined date.
"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," Ridley said in the statement.
"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."
The Masters is golf’s first major championship and attracts fans from around the world. The club doesn’t release attendance figures, but it’s estimated that nearly 40,000 people attend each day.
Tiger Woods is the defending champion. He won his fifth green jacket and 15th major last year and had declined to enter The Players Championship because of back issues.
Two area residents are entered in the two preliminary events to the Masters. Nease graduate Auston Kim, a Vanderbilt sophomore, qualified for the Augusta Women’s Invitational, and Miles Russell of Jacksonville Beach qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt.
The decision by Augusta National means the pro golf calendar is dark at least until the RBC Heritage April 16-18 at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
This story originally published to jacksonville.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.