With the Masters postponed Augusta is now fully closed to its members. And six-time winner Jack Nicklaus doesn't see the major going ahead at all
Three days after Augusta National postponed the Masters, the club is now shutting its doors to its members due to the concerns over coronavirus.
Golf Digest obtained a letter from the chairman Fred Ridley to the members and in it he explained that the club would be closing at the end of the week. Traditionally it shuts a few weeks after the Masters and re-opens in the autumn.
“We are now in the midst of a national emergency. The coronavirus is increasingly impacting lives everywhere, and we have rigorously evaluated how this will affect the club and its operations. Our focus moving forward must be the health and safety of our exceptional staff, which is the heartbeat of Augusta National,” Ridley said.
“Beginning today, we are taking the necessary steps to curtail our operations so, by the end of this week, the club will be closed until further notice. We intend to maintain our properties with limited personnel on site, and we will support our many other functions by working remotely where possible.
“But this is about much more than business continuity. This is about our employees, and the foundation of this decision is built in upon keeping everyone safe while preserving the financial stability of those we care about most.”
In the States the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that there should be no more gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of coronavirus and the agency said that this included conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, and weddings.
The hope is that the Masters will still take place later in the year but its most successful participant, six-time winner Jack Nicklaus, has suggested that it might not happen at all in 2020.
“In all practicality they are postponing but I can’t see any way they would play it at a later date,” Nicklaus said. “How in the world could they work it into the schedule? It wouldn’t be fair to any other tournament that are later. I think we are probably going to miss the Masters this year, that’s just my opinion, but I think it makes logical sense.”
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