This year’s Masters will truly be a tournament unlike any other, as Augusta National announced Wednesday the 2020 event will be held without spectators on site.
The announcement is not wholly surprising — the year’s first major was held last week in San Francisco without fans — but it is remarkable nonetheless. Few events in all of sports are more cherished by visiting fans than the Masters.
“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,” said club chairman Fred Ridley.
“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.”
The event is famous for how it normally hosts patrons, with fixed pricing on its tickets (known as badges) and affordable food and beverages on site. Its tradition of banning cell phones and communication devices has created a quasi-bubble viewing experience, and perhaps no event in golf captures the excitement of individual shots echoing through the tall pine trees.
But this November, in a year where the event was already pushed back seven months, that will simply not be the case.
“We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021,” Ridley said.
Augusta National originally postponed the Masters in mid-March when the coronavirus spread quickly across the country, shutting down major cities and sports leagues, including the PGA Tour. Tickets had already been issued to spectators hopeful to attend the event. Those badges are now guaranteed to transfer to their equivalent for the 2021 Masters. As for those hoping to get badges for the 2021 competition via lottery? That pre-application process began in June, and Augusta National announced it will “communicate directly” with those patrons in September — presumably with a reduced number of tickets available.
The 2020 Masters will be held Nov. 12-15.