It's official: No patrons at this year's Masters

Masters Flag

It already bills itself as "a tradition unlike any other".

Now, this year's Masters is going to be a tournament unlike any other in its history, following confirmation that the rescheduled major will take place behind closed doors.

Although widely expected, the news is a bitter blow to golf fans around the world for whom the patrons and their 'back nine on Sunday' roars have become as much a part of the Masters experience as azaleas, green jackets and caddies in white jumpsuits. 

In a statement, Fred Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, said: “Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic.

"As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.

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“Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome."

There had been speculation that patrons may be allowed to attend on a limited or reduced basis this year but today's announcement has put paid to that.

Ridley added that, even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without spectators on-site is "deeply disappointing".

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“The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the Tournament so special," he said. "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. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

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“We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event.”

All 2020 ticket holders will be guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 Masters, with Augusta National planning to communicate directly with all ticket holders and 2021 ticket applicants in September. 

This year's patron-less Masters will take place from November 12-15, where Tiger Woods will look to successfully defend the title he won in such thrilling fashion in April 2019.

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