Golf: Masters to take place without fans at Augusta National in November

The Masters will be played without fans attending at Augusta National, when it takes place from November 12, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Organisers had examined how best to host the global sporting event since the pandemic forced the postponement of the tournament, traditionally held during the first full week of April at Augusta National.

"Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts," says Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley.

"Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome."

Ridley says Augusta National can "hopefully" welcome patrons back in April 2021.

Golf is coming off its first 'Major' championship of the COVID-19 era, played without fans at last week's PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Scheduled for next month, the US Open in New York will also have no fans on site, while this year's British Open Championship was cancelled.

The PGA Tour hasn't allowed fans to attend any tournament since it returned from a three-month COVID-19 hiatus in June, a move that will carry through the circuit's 2019/20 season finale at the Tour Championship.

The Masters, known for the beauty of its layout and deafening roars that echo through towering pines, attracts spectators from all over the world.

As the only permanent home for one of golf's four Majors, the allure of the Augusta National has made tickets to the Masters among the most coveted in all of sports.

"Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing," says Ridley. "The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the tournament so special.

"Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus, and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the tournament in a safe manner."