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Posted March 13, 2020 09:03 am
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2020 Masters Tournament postponed

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The Augusta National Golf Club postponed the 2020 Masters Tournament on Friday, joining the growing number of major sporting events worldwide affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"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, ” Augusta National chairman Fred S. Ridley said in a statement.

The tournament, originally scheduled for April 9-12, will be held at a later date. No new date was set. The club typically closes after May and reopens in October.

The second annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur and Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals have also been postponed.

This postponement comes in the wake of a slew of major sports leagues events that postponed or canceled their tournaments and season Wednesday and Thursday.

"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.

The postponement stunned players who were part of the 2020 field.

“I’m perplexed. I’m shocked,” said 2007 Masters champ Zach Johnson. “I’m numb about all of this. It’s like watching a movie and you hope you wake up and everything is back to normal. But this is reality. The people at the PGA Tour, specifically Jay Monahan, and at the people at the Masters, specifically Fred Ridley, I completely trust and I’m confident they are talking to the right people and they are making the right decisions at the right time.

“It's unfortunate for us players, clearly, but it’s just not about us. And that obviously has to be paramount. There are so many more individuals, entities, that are affected by this and could be affected even worse if we were to play. It’s unfortunate for the PGA Tour and the Masters.”

Aiken native Kevin Kisner said he wasn’t surprised by the decision.

“I assumed the Masters was going to be postponed once the PGA Tour canceled the next three weeks,” said Kisner, who also won’t get a chance to defend his WGC Match Play title. “I couldn’t see how Augusta could be the first one to come back to not knowing what’s going to transpire in the next three weeks, with all the things that have to occur to make the Masters happen, you can’t make a last-minute decision.

“I’m going to chill out on the beach today and figure out life tomorrow. I haven’t put much thought into what’s going to happen. We’re all a little shell-shocked.”

He did wonder what it would be like playing the tournament later in the year..

“It will be interesting to see how they go about trying to move the event with the local weather,” Kisner said.

Augusta native Charles Howell said postponing the event was a good call by Augusta National.

“I think the best thing about the decision was that it is postponed, not canceled,” said Howell, who would have been playing in his 10th Masters.

Asked if it will be strange to play the Masters at a later date than normal, Howell said “everything at this point is weird. They canceled The Players Championship at 9:50 on Thursday night.”

Howell said Augusta National “is doing the right thing. They always do the right thing. They know a lot more about it than we do. Clearly, there are a lot of things more important than sports.”

The Masters has been played continuously since its inception in 1934 except during World War II when it was canceled from 1943-45.

Golfweek writer Steve DiMeglio and correspondent David Westin contributed to this article.