The PGA Tour Cancels Players Championship Due to Coronavirus
The Coronavirus pandemic is continuing to impact life and routine across the globe, with sporting events now being affected at an accelerated rate throughout Europe and the United States. Reflecting that fluid situation, hours after initially confirming that the circuit would continue without spectators for a month, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has announced the immediate cancellation of The Players Championship and all tournaments until the Masters.
Releasing a statement late on Thursday, the Tour states: "It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of THE PLAYERS Championship.
"We have also decided to cancel all PGA TOUR events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through 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 – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause."
This news replicates sport across the United States and Europe, which has shut down in the face of this crisis. The NBA in America has suspended its season, with Major League Soccer postponing its new campaign for 30 days. Spain's La Liga, the Dutch Eredivisie, and Portugal's Primeira Liga have also suspended imminent matches, with speculation rife that the Premier League will follow after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus. Potential cancellation of the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020 are also under consideration by the relevant bodies.
Additionally, tennis' ATP Tour has shut down for six weeks, and matches in rugby's Six Nations have also been postponed in the face of a crisis that has engulfed the continent, with the UK Government now progressing to the 'delay phase' of its action plan. The Republic Ireland has already made the decision to close schools and colleges, with many nations and cities banning large gatherings, placing a spotlight on sport.
The Hero Indian Open is just the latest European Tour event postponed due to Coronavirus, which now has an empty regular schedule until the end of April. The LPGA Tour had already cancelled several of its Asian based tournaments.
Additionally, LPGA chief Michael Wahn revealed his decision to postpone future events, including the season's first major, the ANA Inspiration, stating: "This is a difficult situation. As we navigate these uncertain times, we appreciate the support of all those involved with the LPGA.
"I am fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule, especially our first major, the ANA Inspiration.
"Our thoughts are with all of those around the world affected by this virus. And on a personal level, it pains me to see the impact of this health crisis on our athletes, our sponsors and our fans. That said, I know keeping our LPGA family safe, and all those who follow us safe, has to be my top priority."
With the highest levels of the professional game shutting down for a month, attention now turns to the Masters, which is only weeks away. Augusta National is presently reviewing contingencies, including limiting or banning patrons from its venue, seeing the iconic showpiece surreally being played behind closed doors. Confirmation is expected in the coming days, but in the face of the global situation and moves from the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour, it seems likely that the tournament will be postponed.
Ultimately, this crisis is continuing to evolve, with new developments emerging by the hour. What is certain is that Coronavirus will have an influence on all of our lives, including in the staging of our favourite sporting events.
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