Storms halt Masters practice

US Masters (AFP)
US Masters (AFP)

Augusta - Severe storms have halted practice for the 78th Masters on Monday and forced spectators to be cleared from Augusta National as a safety precaution.

The course was not expected to reopen due to thunderstorms that were expected to linger in the area for the remainder of the day.

Those who bought practice round tickets will be sent refunds next month and assured of the chance of buying practice round tickets to next year's Masters, according to a statement from the club.

"We are disappointed that our patrons could not enjoy today's practice round, however safety must be our first concern," said Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.

About 30 players had started practice rounds in the two hours of availability under cold, overcast and damp conditions before the course was closed.

Weather is expected to improve throughout the week, with forecasts for clear conditions from Thursday's start of the year's first major golf championship to the finish on Sunday.

That figures to toughen the now-damp greens, making the undulating putting surfaces harder and faster when players compete for the coveted green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
44% - 5846 votes
Cricket
11% - 1449 votes
Football
19% - 2465 votes
Athletics
2% - 303 votes
Boxing
1% - 123 votes
Cycling
2% - 302 votes
Golf
5% - 646 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1073 votes
Tennis
3% - 415 votes
Water sports
1% - 118 votes
American sports
1% - 128 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 378 votes
Vote