On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the organizer of the main professional golf tours of the US and North America, the PGA Tour announced that the 2020 Players Championship golf tournament in Florida has been called off due to coronavirus outbreak.
The 47th Championship, which was scheduled to be held March 12-15 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, was canceled after the first round. With the possibility of further escalation of the virus impact, PGA Tour has also announced to suspend the next three major golf events in the US.
PGA Tour’s Announcement
The PGA Tour made a statement on Twitter on late Thursday, “It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship and all events through the Valero Texas Open.” The organizer informed the news of the events’ cancelation through texting a message to players because of a “rapidly changing situation” related to the virus epidemic and threats in the US.
In the statement, the organizer continued, “We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate.” The statement added, “But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”
The first round of the Championship, which was kicked off in front of spectators at TPC Sawgrass, was led by a Japanese player, Hideki Matsuyama at nine-under-par 63 in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The Tour’s Commissioner, Jay Monahan Earlier made a statement on Thursday that the final three rounds of the Tour’s flagship event had to be played without any audience. Monahan announced to convene a news conference at 8 AM local time (1200 GMT) to address the reasons for the cancellation.
Cancellation of Next Three Events
In addition to the cancellation of the Players Championship, the Tour organizer announced that it has also canceled the upcoming three major golf events in the US namely, the Valspar Championship in Florida, the World Golf Championships-Dell Matchplay in Austin, Texas, and the Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas. This means that there would be no events before the April 9-12 Masters in the US.
However, it was yet unclear whether the Masters at Augusta National in Georgia would be proceeded as per the schedule. Some reports speculated that even if it continued, the event would be conducted either limited spectators or not at all. No statement has been made by the organizer on the matter on Thursday.
It was clear that no major sporting events are likely for the next month in the US since the top women’s circuit, the LPGA Tour, earlier on Thursday announced that it would be canceling its next three championship events, which were scheduled to be held in Arizona and California
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