Augusta National announcement ahead of November tournament means all three majors in 2020 to be played without spectators
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 12/08/20 4:22pm
The Masters will go ahead in November without patrons lining the course at Augusta National.
Augusta chairman Fred Ridley confirmed the decision has been taken to play the final major of the year behind closed doors following consultation with health officials, admitting the outcome is necessary but “deeply disappointing”.
The announcement means that all three majors this year will be played with no spectators on site, while The 149th Open at Royal St George’s was cancelled and moved to the same July week next year.
In a statement issued by Augusta National, Ridley said: “Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic.
“As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.
“Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.
“Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special.
“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. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.
“We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event.”
The PGA Championship was played behind closed doors last week at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, where fans were denied the chance to witness a thrilling final day at close quarters as Collin Morikawa claimed a two-shot win in only his second major appearance.
Spectators will also be banned for next month’s US Open at Winged Foot, while there will be no fans on the ground at any PGA Tour event until at least the end of the current season, which concludes at the Tour Championship in early September.