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Augusta National postpones Masters golf due to coronavirus

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Washington (AFP)

This year's Masters tournament, the season's first major golf championship, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley announced Friday.

"Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters tournament," Ridley said in a statement.

The event was delayed, not canceled, so defending champion Tiger Woods might get the chance to capture a 16th major title at the famed course at some uncertain future date.

The outbreak, which has prompted a virtual shutdown of American sport, also forced Ridley to postpone the Augusta National Women's Amateur and youth Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.

"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision," Ridley said.

"We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters tournament and our amateur events at some later date."

Augusta National typically closes soon after hosting the world's top players, reopening later each year, so the possibility remains that it could be rescheduled later in the year, potentially after the 2019-20 US PGA season is complete given the schedule already booked through August.

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