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No spectators for US Open golf due to COVID-19

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New York (AFP)

The 120th US Open will be staged without spectators at Winged Foot on September 17-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Golf Association (USGA) announced Wednesday.

The USGA consulted state officials before ruling out fans over health and safety issues.

The major showdown in suburban New York would have been the first to allow fans since the US PGA Tour resumed play in June after a three-month shutdown due to the deadly virus outbreak.

"Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the US Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved," USGA chief executive officer Mike Davis said.

"We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future US Opens."

The PGA Tour had planned to have fans at the Memorial tournament two weeks ago but rising numbers of cases in Ohio prompted state officials to scratch that idea.

Spectators will also be absent from next week's PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the first major championship of a year where the regular schedule was thrown into chaos by the virus.

The US Open was postponed from June to September and staged without the usual trademark qualifying rounds, the field selected by rankings and other methods.

The PGA was moved from May to August while the Masters was shifted from April to November and the British Open was called off altogether.

Organizers had pushed to try and have spectators at the US Open.

"While we are disappointed, we know it was the right decision to make for the community and for the players," Davis said.

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