Golf's 2020 Major Championships in Limbo Due to Coronoavirus
By Mark Morton on March 19, 2020
As much as golf fans love the game and our yearly major championships, we have been abruptly reminded that there are more important things, and there is nothing more important than the health of those affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus. The vast spread of the Coronavirus in the USA has left our public health and economy in turmoil. So it's no surprise that golf is taking some gut punches as well, starting with the sudden cancellation of The Players Championship, with the first round completed and the second round ready to begin. Friday the 13th, an ominous date to begin with, was also the date that the 2020 golf schedule became something that we've never seen before, a great unknown.
After The Players canceled, The Masters followed immediately. Chairman Fred Ridley's statement announcing the indefinite postponement of the 2020 Masters included a plea to golf fans: "As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we seek your understanding of this decision and know you share our concern given these trying times." Yes Mr. Ridley, we do understand. As disappointed as we all are that The Masters won't start in a couple of weeks, we get it. But let's not pretend it isn't one more real and important hurt inflicted by this virus, because it is. For many folks like me, The Masters is more than just a sporting event. It's a yearly celebration of the game, bursting from the seams with tradition and history. And I'll miss it terribly.
The latest speculation is that we may see an October, 2020 Masters tournament. There has been no official announcement, just a ton of rumors. It would be interesting to see how Augusta National plays in the fall, but it won't be the same. It just won't be.
The PGA of America has also postponed the PGA Championship, adding a second 2020 major to in limbo status. And the PGA Tour has canceled the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the Byron Nelson. So the 2020 PGA Tour schedule is officially much shorter. And the 2020 major championship schedule now has two big unknowns. They are officially postponements, but whether they are ever played is still very much in doubt.
I wouldn't bet on us seeing any major golf played this year. If somehow this pandemic continues on into the summer, it's hard to see any organization take the risk of bringing large crowds together in 2020. And of course golf is not the only sport affected. Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and even the 2020 NCAA Basketball Tournament have all been shut down. It's just too dangerous for any sport to draw a crowd, and with no end in sight, it's impossible for me to predict any golf tournament being held.
I wish everyone well during this most difficult of times. Hopefully after our collective health is restored, we can resume this great game and I expect we all will appreciate major championship golf just a little more than we did before.