The 2020 US Masters has been postponed due to the novel Coronavirus, known officially as Covid-19. The travel industry and sporting world have been flung into chaos in recent weeks as Covid-19 has spread from Asia to Europe and America. Playing the event in its usual month of April in 2020 was obliterated by the onslaught of the virus and subsequent global travel restrictions.
The venue and organisers of the US Masters, Augusta National Golf Club, has recently closed its doors even to members due to the pandemic. Augusta National will keep a small amount of staff to tend maintenance of the facilities, with a new Masters date set for late October or early November. Augusta National Club President Fred Ridley stated: “considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament,” as reflected by Golf Digest earlier in March.
Augusta National must consider various factors when deciding on a new date, including the health and safety of all players, fans and officials. Above all, the state of global travel restrictions leading up to the event, and PGA tour logistics of cancelling other events to make way for the tournament must be considered. Another essential factor to take into consideration is whether or not players will travel to Augusta for the major; everything depends on their safety and travel restrictions at the time.
There have been rumours around staging the US Masters in October 2020. Local Augusta hotel pricing over 05 – 12 October has almost tripled compared to standard rates. The rate hike has fuelled speculation that local hotels have inside knowledge of new Masters dates, though there has not been an official statement from Augusta National over the matter. The tournament and town of Augusta will be aiming for rescheduling to October or November 2020 rather than cancelling the event altogether.
For most people with trips to the 2020 US Masters already booked, it’s a waiting game; travel insurance, global flight restrictions and widespread lock-downs are fuelling anxiety. Augusta National Golf Club still have time to make up their minds. Ongoing negotiations with the PGA Tour, the R&A (for a reschedule of The 149th Open around the same time), other sporting codes, and the US Government give them some breathing room before releasing a new date or cancelling altogether.