It's still months away but the golf world is already discussing the possibility of a fan-free Masters. Dan Murphy and Alex Perry weigh in

As tournaments continue to announce they will be played behind closed doors – including the US Open – there continues to be speculation about just how long it will be before we once again see fans lining the fairways.

And while speculation rages about just how many more events will be fan-free, it’s impossible not to cast your mind to the Masters – even if it is still months away.

Would they play the Masters without the famous Augusta patrons? It’s a debate that’s blowing up on social media, so here’s what two of our writers have to say…

‘We don’t know when we’ll go back to normal’

The Masters won’t be the same without the fans patrons, writes Dan Murphy. You don’t say. Nor is the Premier League. Nor is Test cricket. Nor is the PGA Tour. Nor is the pub.

If you’re offering me a choice between a Masters of some sort to light up what promises to be a dreary November or none at all then that’s an easy decision.

None of us know when any of the great sporting events will return in recognisable form but it could be quite a while. So if there’s a way to hold them in the meantime that is as safe as it can be then I’m all for it.

Nobody’s saying it’s desirable but if we’ve learned anything from this year it is surely the need to be flexible and adaptable.

The world’s changed and we must as well. Let’s work our way back towards normality step by step and be grateful for some major championship golf rather than none at all.

‘The patrons make the Masters’

If you’d have said to me two months ago that the Masters should be played behind closed doors, I’d have spent the next 10 seconds scrambling around in my brain to find a witty comment with which to mock your silliness, writes Alex Perry.

The patrons are what make that atmosphere at the Masters so special. There is nothing like hearing that famous roar bounding around golf’s most famous grounds. Very few things in golf send a shiver down your spine quite like the collective congratulations of the Augusta patronage.

And it was for this reason I desperately wanted to counter the argument that the Masters should be played without them. But I can’t. Simply because the point already put across about whether or not I’d rather have a Masters without patrons or no Masters at all is a complete no-brainer.

Watching the PGA Tour coverage in recent weeks, can anyone honestly say that the lack of fans has affected their viewing experience? Hasn’t it been nice not hearing cries of “Get in the hole!” on every par-5 tee shot?

(I’m extending this point to football, too, another sport I was tremendously sceptical about returning sans fans. But the way the teams have dressed their stadiums to offset this and the technology adopted by broadcasters to pump crowd noise into your living room has worked like a charm.)

As for the Masters, if it’s just me, Jim Nantz and the birds for one year, I can deal with that.

Ask me about the PGA Championship or the Ryder Cup, though, and it’s a different story…

Should the Masters go ahead even if patrons aren’t allowed on the grounds? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.

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