The PGA Tour announced on Thursday evening it is cancelling the 2020 Players Championship, and it is cancelling the remainder of its schedule through to the Masters Tournament in response to the growing threat from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement, the PGA Tour said, "It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship. We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open.
"We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate. But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause."
The decision comes after Day 1 play at TPC Sawgrass was completed without the 144-player field getting all 18 holes in. The round was played as originally planned, with fans and normal start times.
Hideki Matsuyama was the tournament leader on Thursday, shooting a course record-tying 9-under 63 to take a two-shot lead among players finishing the round. He will not be credited with an official win, and the PGA Tour will not pay out any prize money to the field, as the first round was never even completed in full.
On Thursday afternoon, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the PGA Tour would hold the remainder of The Players and the next three scheduled PGA Tour events -- the Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and Valero Texas Open -- without fans in attendance. In addition, all events scheduled for other tours under the PGA Tour umbrella, including PGA Tour Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour, were to go on without fans.
PGA Tour Champions was set to play in Mississippi in two weeks at the Rapiscan Systems Classic. The Korn Ferry Tour was set next week to begin a run of three consecutive tournaments in as many weeks. PGA Tour Latinoamerica had two events scheduled in the time frame. PGA Tour Series China had previously suspended its season, and the Mackenzie Tour was not in action.
Now, they're all cancelled outright.
The Tour is expected to deliver more information at 8 a.m. on Friday.
The PGA Tour does not run the Masters Tournament, which would be the next sanctioned event on the PGA Tour calendar. Augusta National Golf Club, which runs the invitational tournament, will decide on a course of action in due time -- likely by early next week.