+ College Golf

Masters postponed, golf reacts to coronavirus

Augusta National has postponed The Masters. A future date has not been announced.

Decisions in the sports world that seemed inevitable in recent days became a reality in a short 12 hour period between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Every major sports league, association or event in the country has been cancelled or postponed with little certainty as to when or if events or seasons can resume safely.

The most high profile event on the upcoming schedule was The Masters and on Friday morning the tournament chairman, Fred Ridley, made the announcement that was expected.

“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals,” Ridley said in a prepared statement.

Just two days ago the tournament had released a memo stating that it intended to hold all events as scheduled.

No suggestion of a future date was offered.

The PGA Tour cancelled that Players Championship after play ended on Thursday. It had planned to play the final three rounds of the tournament without spectators on the TPC course.

The Tour also cancelled three events leading up to The Masters with the hope of resuming its season in early April.

The proposed resumption of the Tour would make the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head the first event to be played after the cancellations and postponements.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sounded hopeful that after a five week break the Tour may be able to resume operations.

“We are going to continue woking with our friends in South Carolina and beyond to understand all the facts and get ready to be playing the tournament” he said in a press conference on Friday morning. “We have been operating as if we are from this point forward,” said Monahan.

While Monahan’s announcement suspends PGA Tour golf for at least the next few week, the PGA Commissioner believes, considering local health conditions, golfers should keep playing.

“Golf is the greatest game on the planet. As we go through this uncertain time we hope everybody gets an opportunity to get out, play golf, get outside, support their local PGA Professional and support the game. I want to make sure we are inspired to use this game to get through a challenging time,” he said

SCGA, CGA and WSCGA

Last night the three major amateur organizations in the Carolinas announced they would be monitoring the rapidly changing situation, but had expected to carry on their regular schedule of events.

Today all three organizations have now decided to suspend activities at least through April 6th.

“We have either lost or will be moving about nine events,” said Biff Lathrop, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Golf Association. “We have had to cancel the Can-Am Junior matches, but we hope to get everything else rescheduled,” he said.

The SCGA, CGA and WSCGA held a conference call on Friday morning to coordinate their response to the situation and decided to suspend activities until at least April 5th.

Like the SCGA the WSCGA and the CGA will attempt to reschedule as many events as possible, but there may be some tournaments that will suffer.

The WSCGA has announced its team championship has been rescheduled for November on Daniel Island.

All three state organizations emphasized that their actions only apply to events conducted the associations. The suspension, cancellation or rescheduling has nothing to do with local clubs or events in the Carolinas.

The Monday After the Masters event at Myrtle Beach has been cancelled for this year. The event that is presented by the Hootie and the Blowfish Band will return next year.

High School Golf

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association and the South Carolina Independent School Association have both suspended activities until at least April 6th.

The South Carolina High School League will hold a Superintendents conference call on Monday and then hold another conference call with the Executive Committee to determine the future of spring sports in the state.

College Golf

On Thursday the NCAA cancelled all spring championships effectively ending the college golf season.

However, both the Southern Conference and SEC have announced the suspension of sports activities only till the end of March.

“There still is the possibility that we will hold our conference tournaments,” said Jeff Hull Furman women’s golf coach. “We will not know anything till then, but things could change any day,” he said.

Currently there are no planned activities scheduled for Furman golfers. The Furman Intercollegiate mens tournament scheduled for later this month has been cancelled.

“We sent our golfers home. We don’t have anything for them to do until we find out what happens after the 30th,” added Hull.

The idea of playing a conference championship, which is used to determine bids to play in the NCAA Championship, without the possibility of playing in a national championship would seem to have little merit.

The ACC has suspended all athletic activities indefinitely, but the SEC has issued the same guidance as the SoCon concerning the resumption of championship activity after March 30th.

“I’m a little in the dark on all of this,” said Bill McDonald the Gamecocks golf coach. “This has happened so fast there are a lot of questions that I don’t have any answers for,” he said.

In addition to cancelling the rest of spring championships the NCAA has also created a dead period for college recruiting. No travel, on campus visits or recruiting activity can take place until after April 15th.

Another NCAA issue that has come up concerns athletes eligibility. The NCAA announced it intends to restore eligibility to athletes who have been affected by the end of their sports season. The details will be worked out at a future date.

 

 

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