Coronavirus: PGA Tour bans spectators from tournaments until April

Ban on spectators ends just ahead of the US Masters at Augusta

A view of fans around the 18th green during the first round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The PGA Tour has banned spectators from attending tournaments until after April 5th, starting with Friday’s second round of the Players Championship, because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement was made by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan at TPC Sawgrass, where fans were already in place midway through the opening round of what is widely regarded as golf's unofficial fifth major.

Monahan said he spoke with US president Donald Trump earlier on Thursday and that the White House are supportive of the precautionary measures the PGA Tour has taken.

“At this point in time, PGA tour events - across all tours - will currently proceed as scheduled, but will do so without fans,” said Monahan, adding that the policy could still change.


“This is a difficult situation, one with consequences that impact our players, fans and the communities in which we play.”

Earlier on Thursday the PGA Tour said that, given the information available, the Players Championship would continue as scheduled but added it was a “very fluid situation that requires constant review.”

At TPC Sawgrass signs were posted indicating that an autograph ban was in place.

The ban on spectators ends just ahead of the April 9th-12th Masters at Augusta National where the year's first major is expected to be contested.

Last week, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said the Masters will proceed as scheduled and precautions will be established to ensure the safety of everyone following the coronavirus outbreak.

Augusta National did not immediately respond when asked if they still expect to allow patrons at this year’s Masters.