PGA TOUR Cancels 2020 PLAYERS Championship & All Events Through April 5 Due to Coronavirus
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm tees off at the PLAYERS Championship on Thursday
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla – A surreal day at The Players Championship has concluded with the cancellation of the entire tournament – and each of the next three – due to Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns
“We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process,” the TOUR said in a statement. “We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring 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.”
The opening round began with 144 players competing in front of galleries, business as usual at the PGA TOUR’s flagship event. By mid-day, commissioner Jay Monahan had announced that the final three rounds would be contested without any on-site spectators. Just before 10 p.m., however, players were notified that the tournament had been canceled.
Also canceled is the upcoming Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Match Play Championship and the Valero Texas Open. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, an alternate-field event held during the same week as the Match Play, was already canceled earlier in the day.
Up next, of course, is the Masters Tournament, scheduled for April 9-12.
Augusta National previously issued a memorandum last week saying that it was reviewing all facts and information before making a decision about the tournament.
As for The PLAYERS, all scores — including a course-record-tying 63 by Hideki Matsuyama — will be wiped from the record books, as if the surreal day never happened.
While no competitors in the field outwardly disagreed with the TOUR’s initial decision to continue with the tournament, despite many other professional sports leagues suspending play, Rory McIlroy was perhaps the strongest in his support of testing players and suspending play if anyone related to the event had tested positive.
“Everyone needs to get tested,” said McIlroy, who disclosed that he would get tested next week when he was home. “I saw that obviously there’s commercial labs now are testing at some capacity, I guess, but I think for us to keep playing on TOUR, we all the TOUR players and people that are involved need to get tested and make sure that no one’s got it, because obviously everyone knows you can have it and not have symptoms and pass it on to someone that’s more susceptible to getting very ill from it.”
C.T. Pan started the day in the field, but quickly withdrew, later issuing this statement via social media: “I chose to withdraw from The Players Championship because my wife and I want to protect ourselves from the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. We are fine and our families are fine. Our lifestyle is like a circus, traveling from one place to another. We believe this is a time to exercise caution by not playing this week.”
Monahan will hold an 8 a.m. news conference Friday morning to speak more about the cancellation.
The Korn Ferry Tour also announced on Thursday night it was canceling all of its events through at least April 5.
NASCAR, at the moment, is the only major sports league proceeding as planned this weekend.