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PGA Tour cancels Players Championship and next three events as virus spreads

7.42am 13th March 2020 - Coronavirus NewsSponsorship

The PGA Tour has cancelled the remainder of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and has also cancelled all of its events scheduled for the next three weeks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made after PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said earlier on Thursday that the Players Championship would be played in its entirety, but would take place without spectators for the final three rounds at TPC Sawgrass. After gathering more information, however, the tour decided to shut down the event completely.

“It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of the Players Championship,” the tour said in its statement late on Thursday night. “We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events – across all of our tours – in the coming weeks, through to the Valero Texas Open.

“We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavouring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”

The PGA Tour went ahead and began the first round of the Players on Thursday, allowing spectators on the grounds. Hideki Matsuyama shot an opening-round 63, matching the course scoring record, to take a two-stroke lead. By midday, however, the PGA Tour had already announced that it would not allow spectators to watch the final three rounds and that that policy would be in place moving forward during the next three events on the PGA Tour schedule – the Valspar Championship, the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, and the Valero Texas Open. These three events are now cancelled entirely.

Elsewhere, the LPGA Tour has postponed its first three events in the US, including its first major of 2020, the ANA Inspiration. This came after the tour had already cancelled three previous event in Asia due to the coronavirus.

The Masters, meanwhile, scheduled for April 9-12 at Augusta National, is looking at contingency plans for this year’s tournament, which is also in jeopardy, while the US PGA Championship, scheduled for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, remains for now on track to be played, according to the PGA of America.

Jay Monahan
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