Just days after announcing that next month’s Masters Tournament has been postponed, Augusta National Golf Club has reportedly gone into lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus.
According to a Golf Digest report, the Georgia club’s chairman Fred Ridley has written to all of its members to advise that the famous course will be closed “until further notice” amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
At the time of writing, there were 121 confirmed cases of the disease in the state, with one reported fatality.
In a letter to members, seen by Golf Digest, Ridley explained how the “national emergency” caused by the coronavirus had prompted Augusta National to “rigorously evaluate how this will affect the club and its operations”.
He wrote: “Our focus moving forward must be the health and safety of our exceptional staff, which is the heartbeat of Augusta National.
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“Beginning today, we are taking the necessary steps to curtail our operations so, by the end of this week, the club will be closed until further notice.
“We intend to maintain our properties with limited personnel on site, and we will support our many other functions by working remotely where possible. But this is about much more than business continuity.
“This is about our employees, and the foundation of this decision is built-in upon keeping everyone safe while preserving the financial stability of those we care about most.”
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Ridley pledged to “continuously review this situation” and “send timely information in order to give clarity and comfort during these unsettling times”.
He added: “While we do not know what the weeks ahead will bring for our world, I know our club will emerge successfully and stronger than ever because of the support of our members and staff.”
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US urged the cancellation of gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. That would end on May 10 – with the US PGA Championship scheduled to get underway at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on May 14.