By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/08/20 6:39pm
The mayor of Augusta believes it is “likely” that no patrons will be permitted to attend the Masters in November.
Mayor Hardie Davis addressed the issue at a public press conference earlier this week and stated that officials at Augusta National are expected to follow the leads of the PGA Championship and US Open, which are both being played behind closed doors.
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Augusta remain high, with almost 1,500 residents diagnosed with coronavirus over the last two weeks, and while Davis fears a spectator ban, he remains hopeful the tournament will go ahead from November 12-15.
“Based on everything I know about what’s taking place at Augusta National, they’ve been on the front lines of reviewing what the PGA is doing,” said Davis.
“The PGA Championship is happening at Harding Park without fans, and that’s likely what will probably happen here in Augusta, where we’ll have the tournament without fans.”
But Davis did offer hope for patrons hoping to attend, revealing he would consider giving the go-ahead if Augusta National could get the required precautions in place, admitting the club is well equipped and resourced to conduct such a huge operation.
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“Do I believe that the Augusta National Golf Club can do it better than anybody? Absolutely,” Davis added. “They have the wherewithal to test all patrons who show up at the course and if you have a fever, they can tell you to go get in the car.
“My preference is to see some golf.”
Augusta National has not issued an update to their plans since April, when chairman Fred Ridley said the tournament would go ahead only after rigorous consultation with the relevant health and safety officials.
“While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the Coronavirus,” Ridley said.
“Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport.
“We want to emphasise that our future plans are incumbent upon favourable counsel and direction from health officials. Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week.”