AU Health’s Coule: Patron-less Masters the ‘right’ decision

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 11:39 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After the Augusta National Golf Club decided to hold the Masters without patrons this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AU Health’s Dr. Phillip Coule is applauding the decision.

Coule, who is AU Health’s chief medical officer, believed ANGC officials made a reasonable choice.

“I applaud the Augusta National for making what must have been a very difficult decision. Because I believe they know what it means to the community. But yet, it’s the right decision,” Coule said.

Coule said AU Health officials have been available for consultation throughout the process with ANGC.

The decision, according to Coule is unprecedented in an unprecedented time.

“It’s really not possible to hold a large gathering event right now and do it safely,” Coule said.

Ultimately, the ANGC made their choice to hold the tournament, but without exposing COVID-19 risks to patrons.

“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,” Ridley said.

But measuring the risk right now is impossible, Coule said.

“We may see, essentially, a third wave of this once we get into cold and flu season,” Coule said. “We could see a really difficult situation.”

Even Augusta National can’t predict what will happen in November.

“There’s too many unknowns going into this situation,” Coule said.

Health officials also said it’s important to consider the restaurants. With all the people coming in from out of town, there would be no way to keep the tournament self-contained.

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