PGA Tour calls off Players to start shut-down
The US PGA Tour has changed course and called off The Players Championship after one round, the first of a string of cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship,” the tour said in a statement on Thursday night.
The tour also announced it was cancelling the Valspar Championship, the WGC Match-Play and the Texas Open in San Antonio in coming weeks.
The Valero Texas Open concludes on April 5, eve of the first practice round at Augusta National for the Masters.
The tour had earlier decided to continue with the Players while barring fans, announcing the same plans for most tournaments in the coming weeks, although the event in the Dominican Republic played opposite the WGC Match Play would be postponed.
But as concerns mounted over the burgeoning number of coronavirus cases in the United States officials changed their mind.
“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.”