Coronavirus-delayed Masters rescheduled for Nov. 9-15
Monday, April 6, 2020
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Masters Tournament will take place Nov. 9-15, according to the Augusta National Golf Club.
The legendary golf tournament -- a keystone of the CRSA economy -- was originally scheduled for this week.
However, like many events that draw large numbers of people, the tourmament was put on hold during the COVID-19 crisis to reduce the spread of the virus. The postponement was announced March 13.
Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer of Augusta University, said fall makes sense for a rescheduled Masters.
There's a widespread expectation that there will be a sense of normalcy by the summer -- when the U.S. may have the virus under control and when weather conditions could make it less transmissible.
So fall will be even better to host a mass event, according to Coule.
Coule says that based on current models, he thinks the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections is very low right now.
And by that time, he said if there is a second wave, we may have “herd immunity”: enough people will have had the illness that it won’t be easily passed anymore.
A fall schedule could change the dynamics of the tournament play in at least one way: Daylight saving time ends Nov 1, so sunset will be around 5:30. This will require some adjustments to ensure all the participants are done by dark.
The new dates for the Masters were released in a memo issued Monday morning by Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley, a decision he said was reached in collaboration with the leading organizations in golf.
"We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials," he stressed in the memo. "Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week."
The memo also announced the cancellation of the 2020 Augusta National Women’s Amateur event, which Ridley called a difficult decision.
"Ultimately, the many scheduling challenges with NCAA tournaments, the World Amateur Team Championships, the LPGA Q-Series and other events when women’s amateur golf resumes led to this decision," Ridley wrote in the memo.
Players who accepted an invitation for the 2020 championship and who remain amateurs will be invited to compete in 2021, Ridley wrote.
Those who purchased tickets will be sent a refund in May and will get a chance at tickets for next year.
Up until the targeted new dates for the Masters, Ridley said, Augusta National will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against coronavirus.
However, "we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport," he wrote.