The Players has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

Rory McIlroy is concerned for his family and says he will be getting tested for the virus

Rory McIlroy during the first round of The Players Championship. Photograph: AP

Rory McIlroy during the first round of The Players Championship. Photograph: AP

 

The US PGA Tour announced on Thursday night it was scrapping the last three rounds of The Players Championship, which began earlier in the day, and its other tournaments scheduled for the next three weeks.

While organisers had planned to play the last three rounds without spectators, they have now cancelled all tour events through to the end of the Valero Texas Open.

A statement read: “we have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavouring 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. We will be prepared to answer additional questions on Friday.”

Talking to the media ahead of the announcement, world number one Rory McIlory said he planned to be tested upon returning to his south Florida home next week.

“My mother’s got respiratory issues and I certainly don’t want to get something and pass it on to her and all of a sudden there’s some sort of complication,” the Irishman told reporters after rallying late for an even-par 72 at TPC Sawgrass. He called on all players and their entourages to get tested for the virus, and for the PGA Tour to shut down if any test is positive.

“It’s in its infancy here in the United States, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s scary time. I think we just have to play it by ear and take it day by day.”

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama was the first-round leader after a superb nine-under 63, which put him two shots in front of a three-way tie for second. Graeme McDowell shot a four-under-par 68.

In women’s golf, the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year, is among five tournaments to be cancelled.

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