ON THE TEE | Masters finds a new date - in November

Masters (Getty Images)
Masters (Getty Images)

A Masters among the fall leaves, the US Open and Ryder Cup on back-to-back weeks and the PGA Championship in its former spot are on tap in golf's 2020 coronavirus rescheduling plan.

Moments after the 149th Open Championship was postponed until 2021, golf's major tournament organizers and tours issued a joint statement announcing a revamped lineup of dates as a result of postponements due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The PGA Championship is now scheduled to be played 6-9 August at Harding Park in San Francisco. It was postponed from May.

The US Open was rescheduled from June to 17-20 September with the Ryder Cup to be contested one week later at Whistling Straits as scheduled.

The Masters, which was to have been played this week at Augusta National, has been rescheduled for 12-15 November.

"We hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport," Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said.

Organizers emphasized that the new dates depend upon safe conditions for players and spectators in the wake of the deadly virus outbreak.

The US PGA Tour rebooked its regular-season finale, the Wyndham Championship, for 13-16 August with the season-ending tour playoffs to follow over the next three weeks, concluding with the Tour Championship in Atlanta on 4-7 September.

"We want to reiterate that Augusta National Golf Club, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, The R&A and USGA collectively value the health and well-being of everyone within the game of golf and beyond, above all else," the statement said.

The Masters will be played, health conditions permitting, outside of April for the first time in the event's history, which began in 1934.

Another Masters will be scheduled in its usual date for April 2021, making the Augusta National classic the last major of 2020 and the first of 2021.

"We look forward to the championship returning in full strength next spring," Ridley said.

The same field of players that would have competed this week at the Masters will be used for the November date, which comes only a few weeks after the course reopens following summer closure.

"We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials," Ridley said.

"As such, we continue to keep in close contact with local, state and national health authorities to help inform our decisions."

The Augusta National Women's Amateur, an event that began last year, was canceled for 2020 but each woman who accepted an invitation to the event will be invited to compete in 2021, provided she remains an amateur.

The US Open moved back more than three months in hopes conditions in the New York area, the epicenter of the US pandemic outbreak, will be better in late September.

"We are hopeful that postponing the championship will offer us the opportunity to mitigate health and safety issues while still providing us with the best opportunity to conduct the US Open this year," US Golf Association chief executive Mike Davis said.

"We are incredibly thankful to the membership and staff at Winged Foot for their flexibility and support."

PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said his major, now set to be the first of the year, should help in the global recovery from isolating measures to safeguard people from the virus.

"Sports, and particularly the game of golf, are important vehicles for healing and hope," Waugh said.

"We will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials, but are hopeful that it will be safe and responsible to conduct the PGA Championship in August and the Ryder Cup as planned."

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