Augusta National Golf Club announced overnight that no patrons will be allowed on site for the 2020 Masters when it’s held in November.
The news comes two weeks after the USGA announced that the US Open, scheduled to begin on September 17 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York, would be played without spectators, and a week after the mayor of Augusta said he was expecting crowds to be barred from club property.
When the club originally announced the tournament’s postponement from its traditional April date to November 12-15, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said he would welcome “all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week”, contingent on favorable counsel and direction from health officials. Unfortunately, the United States has been unable to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, and the tournament’s home state of Georgia continues to be a hotspot with only Florida and California having more active coronavirus cases.
“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,” Ridley said. “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 Tour has yet to allow fans since the tour’s restart, a move that will continue through its 2019-2020 season finale at the Tour Championship. (Last week’s PGA Championship, run by the PGA of America, was also held without galleries.) The tour has not announced a fan policy for the early portion of its 2020 season that begins in September, with commissioner Jay Monahan stating in July he hoped fans could return before the end of 2020.
The club’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals have already been cancelled. As for the 2020 Masters, its field has been set, with club officials confirming to Golf Digest that winners from the tour’s resumption will be invited to its 2021 tournament.
All 2020 ticket holders will be guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 Masters. Augusta National will communicate directly with all ticket holders and 2021 ticket applicants in September.