Golf: Masters proceeding as scheduled despite coronavirus concerns

Tiger Woods celebrates on the 18th hole to win the 2019 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Plans for the 84th Masters and related events will proceed as scheduled despite growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said on Wednesday (March 4).

In a letter released by the club, Ridley said Augusta National is consulting with health experts and following the situation with plans to take further action as events require.

Spectators from around the world flock to Augusta annually for the year's first major golf championship, scheduled for April 9-12 under the famed Georgia pine trees down Magnolia Lane.

"The safety, health and well-being of everyone is our top priority at Augusta National Golf Club," Ridley said.

"We are, therefore, mindful of the Novel Coronavirus Covid-19, which has been widely reported and continues to spread in areas where it has been detected."

Other events that remain on schedule include the Augusta National Women's Amateur, a 54-hole event that starts April 1 and concludes at Augusta National on April 4 and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals youth event on April 5.

"Augusta National is not only monitoring the situation closely, but also consulting with relevant experts, including the World Health Organisation, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health and local authorities," Riley said.

"As a result of this collaboration, and based upon our knowledge of the situation at this time, we are proceeding as scheduled for the Augusta National Women's Amateur, the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals and the Masters tournament."

Changes in the situation will be monitored by Augusta National and could result in later changes in plans as warranted.

"We will continue to review the available facts and information with the experts and authorities, establish precautions and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of all involved," Ridley said.

"We are asking that everyone follow the preventative actions advised by the CDC to mitigate the spread of any virus. In addition, we strongly encourage all those travelling to Augusta, Georgia, to become knowledgeable of the most recent travel protocols and restrictions."

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